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Q&A: A coffee date with Sam Burchfield

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Sam Burchfield, a southern soul, funky folk playing musician from Atlanta, Georgia, at his home on Sunday, September 4, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. Sam started his music career in Athens, Georgia, where he played small gigs with a band made up of friends; now of course he has toured with the likes of Family and Friends and Ben Rector having earned a name for himself in the Atlanta music scene. (Photo/Henry Taylor:

Ampersand: What was your first concert?

Burchfield: So, my first concert by choice that I sought out was Steve Vai in Greenville [South Carolina]. And Steve Vai was basically an ‘80s shred-guitar, instrumental guy that I was a huge fan of when I first started playing guitar.

&: How old were you when you saw that concert?

B: I must have been 11 or 12. It was when I first started playing guitar.

&: What’s your favorite album as of late?

B: I’m going to do a current album and a classic throwback. My favorite classic throwback album is “Songs in the Key of Life” by Stevie Wonder. It was just phenomenal. And one that I’ve been really digging lately is the new Bernhoft record [“Islander”].

&: Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?

B: You know, I had a three-hour debate with my drummer on a drive about The Backstreet Boys and how they were actually really good, like their songs were really good. I honestly like some Backstreet Boys — they’ve got some pretty jamming songs once you get past the boy band thing.

&: What did your drummer have to say?

B: Oh god, he hates them. He thinks they’re horrible. It was one of those debates where we were really tired and bored and we wanted to have a debate just to have one.

&: What is your favorite meal?

B: Mexican food.

&: Any particular kind of Mexican food?

B: Probably tacos. That’s like the thing that’s always a go-to for me. Any time of day, anywhere, Mexican food, tacos.

&: If you could have that meal with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

B: This is tough. How about Mozart? Because I think that would be so interesting to try to pick somebody's brain like that so far removed from their era. He’s also a total prodigy and genius on all accounts. I’d like to be able to sit down with him and show Mozart a guitar, and be like, “What do you think of this? Can you play—? What is this to you?”

&: How do you drink your coffee?

B: Black.

&: All the time, you never experiment?

B: Nope. It’s actually funny, I was not a coffee drinker at all until freshman year exam time. I started doing mixes of cappuccinos with stuff in the dining hall. And then I was interning in Chase Park [Transduction studio] under David Barbe, because I was in the music business program when I was at UGA. This was kind of before I knew anything about coffee. Some band was in the studio, and I was just supposed be in the background, make coffee, clean bathrooms, act like an intern.

I was like, “Can I make coffee for everybody?” David was like, “Yeah, yeah, bring me a cup of coffee.” I made it, and I came in, and I was like, “How much cream do you want in your coffee?” He just looked at me like that was the most sacrilegious thing ever, and he was like, “I drink my coffee black.” Since then, I’ve been like, I guess I can drink it black. I did it that day, and I was like, “Ah, it’s pretty good.”

&: Do you have a favorite emoji?

B: I like to, as a joke, do the peach emoji and then the waving hand next to it, so it’s kind of like a booty slap. I just think that’s really funny.

&: Do you have a worst date experience?

B: There are so many awful dates… how do you— Nah. I haven’t really had horrible dates. My worst date was probably like around the time of a break up. Like one of those horrible fights where there’s somebody sobbing and it’s really awkward because you’re semi in public somewhere. I can think of a specific time during my freshman year that was like — an awkward tears, in public moment.

&: Where were you guys?

B: So I was actually outside the freshman dorm... I was parking my truck [on Baxter Street]. We had just gotten back and it was time to say good-bye. There were really awkward tears about like, “Oh, you’re leaving.” And I just didn’t know what to do. It was weird.

&: Did anyone see you?

B: Well, there were people walking by, driving by. It’s kind of funny, when you’re arguing and people are walking by on the sidewalk, you kind of temporarily stop the fight….[and] after they leave you’re like super emotional.

&: What’s your favorite social network to use?

B: Honestly, I don’t like social media. I wish I didn’t have to use it. I only use it because I kind of need to as an artist to stay in touch with my fanbase. If I had to pick one, I guess Snapchat is fun because of the filters and stuff.

&: If you don’t like social media, how would you prefer to stay in touch with friends?

B: I think old, classic phone call or text messaging. I think people can get so caught up in checking Facebook every five seconds... Some of my best days [were when I] turned my phone off. My birthday was this past week, and as a birthday present to myself I turned off my phone. [I like to] just go not think about what time it is, or who’s messaging you about what.

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