Show Info

John Conlee

Wooly's Presents:

John Conlee

Randy Burk & The Prisoners

Fri, June 9, 2017

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pm


Des Moines, IA

$28.00 - $30.00

This event is all ages

John Conlee
John Conlee
John Conlee is a lot like the songs of which he sings. He lives a domestic life with his wife Gale and three

children, Rebecca, Jessica and Johnny. During the past two decades, John Conlee has achieved a level of

success that he has sustained by simply being himself and by making records that the listening public can relate

to. He is a gifted entertainer, but he’s not into the glitz and hype of the entertainment world. He’d rather spend

his “off the road” time working on his 32 acre farm outside of Nashville or engaging in his woodworking and

gunsmithing hobbies.

Born and raised in Kentucky farm country, John Conlee grew up plowing fields, slopping hogs, harvesting

grain, raising tobacco and tending cattle. He began his crusade to save the family farm system several years

ago, performing a concert in Omaha, Nebraska in June 1985 as a benefit for the National Farmers Organization.

When Willie Nelson announced his plans for the Farm Aid concerts, John called and offered his services. John

Conlee has since been part of 9 Farm Aid concerts, which have raised 13 million dollars to aid the family


“I certainly didn’t help to organize the entertainers and the concerts for the publicity,” allows Conlee, “I wanted

to help bring attention to the crisis affecting this nation’s family farms. With the help of Willie and others, we

brought the family problems to the forefront and some changes began to take place.

“I’m not a radical or a rebel,” Conlee continues, “but I will stand up and speak my mind on issues that I feel

affect me, my family and others, and the farm crisis was, and remains, one of those issues.”

John Conlee’s success began in the late 70’s. Signed to ABC Records after working in radio for a number of

years, Conlee was ready to make records rather than just sit back and spin them.

His first release, “Back Side Of Thirty” went no where fast. Three more singles also met with a minimum

success, although they all charted. But in March of 1978, the label released “Rose Colored Glasses,” a song

Conlee wrote, which became a huge hit as well as his signature song. In January of 1979, the label re-released

“Back Side Of Thirty” which went on to become a No. 1 record, and the hits continued to roll. The John Conlee

hit list includes songs such as “Lady Lay Down,” “Before My Time,” “Friday Night Blues,” “Miss Emily’s

Picture,” “Busted,” “I Don’t Remember Loving You,” “Common Man,” “I’m Only In It For The Love,” “In My

Eyes,” “As Long As I’m Rocking With You,” “Years After You,” “Domestic Life,” “Mama’s Rockin’ Chair,”

“Hit The Ground Runnin’” and “Fellow Travelers.” All of Conlee’s hits have that unmistakable common thread

– that unique voice.

Unlike many artists today, there are several aspects of John Conlee’s career that have remained constant. His

career has been managed from the beginning by Dave Roberts and all his records have been produced by Bud

Logan. In the entertainment world where artists change managers, agents and producers almost as often as they

change their socks, John Conlee has not tampered with success. He has remained loyal and constant with the

people who have helped him from the beginning – which tells you quite a bit about the man with the rose

colored glasses.

Overall, there have been 29 single releases throughout the years with 26 of them charting in the top 20 or better.

Eight of those 26 have reached the coveted No. 1 spot on the national country charts.

His record tenure, beginning at ABC Records, brought him to MCA Records when the two labels merged. John

also recorded for Columbia Records where he scored four hit singles before signing with Nashville’s 16 th

Avenue Records, a division of the Opryland Music Group. This was something of a homecoming for Conlee,

who has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1981.
Randy Burk & The Prisoners
Randy Burk & The Prisoners
Steeped in the rich tradition of Americana artists before him like Steve Earle, Johnny Cash and Dave Alvin, Randy Burk creates music that is at once exciting and familiar, honest and soulful, fearless and introspective.
Wrought with Midwestern sensibility and a blue-collar work ethic, Burk's affinity for songs about love, life and pain can be traced to his small-town Iowa roots. Born and raised in Atlantic, Iowa, Burk spent much of his youth singing in the church and listening to his father's collection of Elvis Presley 8 tracks.

After graduating from high school, Burk moved to Springfield, Missouri to work for his father's steel company as a laborer. For the next six years, he would frame steel buildings by day and build the foundation for his music career by night toiling in bars and roadhouses with country and rock bands. In between burning both ends of the candle, he would write songs and practice his guitar playing.

Though Burk was building a grassroots following in the Midwest, he knew he had more to give and more to learn. A chance meeting with Jimmy Tittle, Johnny Cash's son-in-law, who toured and recorded with Merle Haggard and The Man In Black would soon put him on the fast track. Tittle, an award-winning singer-songwriter, took the young Iowa native under his wing and encouraged him to follow his dreams and hone his talents as a songwriter and vocalist.

Burk then spent some time in Nashville and learned a lot, recalls Burk. "It was Jimmy Tittle who helped me find myself as an artist. That's when the art of this business became clear to me."

In 1998, Burk returned to Springfield with a renewed sense of purpose to develop his own voice while working as a singer-songwriter. During the next two years he found it while playing shows between New York City and Reno, opening for the likes of Todd Snider, BR5-49, and Brian White.

In 2001 Randy Burk and the Prisoners was formed with long time friend and artist, Jared Hall. Touring with the kind of urgency you'd find at a jailbreak, Burk and the Prisoners quickly established a loyal following while playing more than 200 Midwest shows that year, sharing the stage with the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys, Rambler 454 and The Clumsy Lovers. In 2002, they reached even more fans, with their 7 song EP that included five originals and two Tittle tunes.

In 2004, the group recorded its debut full-length album Down To This during a two-week period at Proxy Studios in Oceanside, California. Longtime friend and Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash leader Mark Stuart produced the album, which includes melodic ballads of heartbreak, spiritual mountain songs and rip-roaring rockers. "This record is a good reflection of who i am," said Burk. "It touches on a lot of different subjects and styles, everything that defines me. I'm really proud of it." So, too, is Stuart. "I was flattered to work with them," he said. "They turned it into a party, but were committed to the songs."

Stuart also praised Burk's songwriting and singing, comparing it to early work of artists like Earle, Springsteen and Mellencamp. "He reminds me of them because his honest delivery sells the song," he said. "The integrity and the passion come through. He's the real deal."

Today, after thousand of miles and thousands of shows in the U.S. and Europe, Burk is currently writing, recording and touring. Randy Burk and the Prisoners was recently awarded $25,000 through online platform, to further their career. They will be in the studio later this year to record their third album.
Venue Information:
504 E. Locust St,
Des Moines, IA, 50309