Tré Burt Takes His Acoustic Guitar to “Franklin’s Tunnel” in New Video

The clip arrives with a playlist curated by the Sacramento-based songwriter celebrating sacred spaces.
Tré Burt Takes His Acoustic Guitar to “Franklin’s Tunnel” in New Video

The clip arrives with a playlist curated by the Sacramento-based songwriter celebrating sacred spaces.

Words: Mike LeSuer

photo by Louis Rua

August 18, 2020

Back in 2018, folk songwriter Tré Burt dropped an LP teeming with bluesy folk, taking cues from genre forebears like Dylan and Dalton, as well as less obvious influences, like the Ethiopian nun and pianist Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou. With this record now feeling ages-old in the time-loop year 2020, Burt is revisiting one of these songs today with a brand new video and a bit of backstory.

“There’s a tunnel underneath an intersection in my hometown that’s a couple blocks down from the middle school/high school I went to,” he shares, setting up some context for the album track “Franklin’s Tunnel,” which features Sea of Bees’ Jules Baenziger. “I’d bring my guitar to school everyday in case I felt a song was creepin’ up. On days it did, I’d leave during lunch for the tunnel and stay ’til whenever the song was done. It was a really safe place for me to escape to and get an understanding of what my voice sounded like, since the acoustics were perfect and I didn’t have an amplifier. It helped me cultivate my sound and songwriting on a sonic scale in the early days.”

The idea for the single came to him upon revisiting the tunnel ten years later after returning to Sacramento, where he wanted to commemorate the nameless tunnel in a neighborhood called Franklin. Watch the video for the track below, which was, naturally, filmed at the Franklin tunnel with Baenziger. Additionally, find a playlist Burt curated of the specific songs that helped shape this one, as well as a track-by-track detailing their influence.

Caught It From the Rye, the album “Franklin’s Tunnel” appears on, is out now—order it here.

Karen Dalton, “Are You Leaving for the Country”

This song, like all of the songs on this list, has been with me for a long time. Karen’s twelve-string and warbly croon puts me someplace both familiar and completely foreign. Nevertheless, someplace where I know I’m safe. I can feel the evening sunshine melt like sticky sorbet when I close my eyes. A strand of this for sure lent itself into writing “Franklin’s Tunnel”.

John Fahey, “How Long”

I wrote half of “Franklin’s Tunnel” in the actual tunnel in my hometown when I came to visit from being on the road, and the other half came to me living in Melbourne. My friend Nadine showed me this song after we finished closing the bar we worked at. She rolled us a spliff and we sat on a table inside next to the candles we’ve yet to blow out. “You have to hear this song,” she said. Staring at the floorboards, a powerful yearning feeling punched me in the gut. It was my home back in Sacramento I was missing in that moment, or maybe my childhood I had there, writing in that tunnel. Whatever it was, the inflection of the guitar inspired me to finish the song. 

Michael Hurley, “Knockando”

I’m always learning something from Michael Hurley. He is a master of phrasing, and this song is no exception. 

John Prine, “Souvenirs”

“Franklin’s Tunnel” exists in my mind as this jangly cup of sunshine sorrow and rear-view reflection. A feeling that John Prine’s “Souvenirs” helped teach me how to put words and melody to.

Mississippi John Hurt, “Louis Collins”

I listen to MJH every day of my life. 

Bob Dylan, “900 Miles from My Home”

I took a road trip once with Britt from Portland to Texas. We had Dylan’s Basement Tapes playing on repeat. This song struck me especially because of its reckless and mournful joy. It was in line with how I was feeling, figuratively speaking, possibly literally.

Arthur Russell, “I Never Get Lonesome”

Arthur is someone who’s 90 percent spirit and 10 percent physical body. I heavily relate to that. It’s incredibly easy for his songs to fumigate my mind.

Neil Young, “Tell Me Why”

I mean, this is just one of the most gorgeous songs ever written. One of the songs that got me writing my own music in the first place. It’s hardly ever left me. 

Hailu Mergia, “Wede Harer Guzo”

It’s hard to think of another song that makes me feel so held by. Hailu’s sonic landscapes are filled with so much color it can be overwhelming to me, seeing as music comes to me in colors. 

Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou, “Homesickness”

You can just go ahead and play any Tsegue-Maryam song at my funeral.