Growing up in the Midwest, folk and Americana singer Ky Burt always felt connected to the vast landscape around him. This deep connection to nature culminated in a career as an environmental educator in Arizona and eventually led him to settle in the Pacific Northwest.
There, he met producer Tyler Fortier (Jeffrey Martin, Anna Tivel) and began working on his first full-length album, The Sky In Between, which is due out April 5. The album is a personal narrative—a chance for Burt to reflect on our changing culture and his desire for small-town connection, as well as an opportunity to pay homage to the ancestors who paved the way for his own journey.
The song “Maple Grove” is based on the life of his grandmother, who is buried in Maple Grove Cemetery in southern Indiana.
“She was a schoolteacher in a one-room schoolhouse... and a person who gave her life to the service of others,” Burt remembers. “It’s a song about seeking an elder when going through a hard time, wishing they were there to console you and give you wisdom during your dark days. It’s a song of hope—by looking [at] and respecting our roots we can heal and move forward in our lives.”
Meant to be a simple song, it was recorded in just a few takes at Fortier’s home in Eugene, “with one mic placed in a wide-open living room and another placed outside in a garage to catch the ambient sounds outside,” Burt describes.
Afterward, friend, animator and bassist Matthew Holmes (Bepo Depot Studios) worked alongside Burt for four months to create the animated short for “Maple Grove,” where action shots also show Burt in a series of friend’s backyards and Pier Park in Portland.