Brandon Burnett has played at venues around Fort Worth since about 2011, frequently busting guitar strings in the process.

The guitar player and crooner known as “Broke String” Burnett released a new album titled “Doppelganger” in February and on March 4 will open for the Legendary Shack Shakers at Lola’s Fort Worth. 

Burnett began working on the album with his friend and longtime collaborator Calan Rawl as the COVID-19 pandemic spread and put a pause on performing live.

“I’m obsessed with playing music, and I wasn’t ever going to stop,” Burnett said.

If you go

What: Legendary Shack Shakers Concert with Hillbilly Casino and Broke String Burnett at Lola’s Fort Worth
Time: 7 p.m.
Date: March 4
Location: Lola’s
                  2000 W Berry Street
                  Fort Worth, TX 76110
Tickets: $20. Open to all ages.

Initially, he wasn’t sure what his next project would be.

He’d been a part of several different groups in the past, and one of his consistent collaborators has been his wife, Jessica, who he credits with helping him improve his vocals.

The pair hosted live streams about once a week during the early days of the pandemic, but as the weeks progressed Jessica felt ill, ended up in the hospital and was ultimately diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

At the hospital, the pair still played music together and bonded with staff.

When they returned home, Jessica decided to take a break from music, but encouraged Brandon to keep going.

“It was one of those things that just ravages you wholly,” she said of her diagnosis. “I was like, ‘I want you to do your thing and I’ll always be there.’”

Husband and wife Brandon and Jessica Burnett met in their senior year of high school and have played music together since about 2008. (Courtesy photo: Brandon Burnett | Credit: Brooks Burris Photography)

Brandon wrote 25 songs, many of which began as prompts from his producer and friend Rawl.

Burnett and Rawl share a mutual love of movies, and Rawl’s recent work scoring student films made him the natural fit to help Burnett compose a full-bodied, cinematic album.

“I just think we get each other and it’s fun to see where we take each other’s ideas,” Rawl said. “And sometimes it’s just a matter of bringing things to each other. He doesn’t tell me exactly what he wants in an arrangement. I just come up with things and it just has always worked out. It’s one of those things that you can’t force.”

YouTube video

Each of the 12 tracks on “Doppelganger” explore similar motifs, but are imperfect reflections of one another, toggling between light and dark themes and, occasionally, major and minor keys. For example, the song “Cross Me Off” finds an alter ego in the minor key track “Got It Bad.”

The album title is also a nod to Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Vertigo” and Burnett’s road to self-discovery.

Growing up, he would belt Garth Brooks’ “The Thunder Rolls,” in high school he started playing punk music and he later fell in love with folk.

He describes his current style as “a cosmic country fever dream.”

Ironically, Burnett said he hasn’t broken a string on stage for a while, but he’ll have the chance to reinforce his nickname soon, with the backing of a full band behind him.

Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Marcheta FornoffArts & Culture Editor

For just over seven years Marcheta Fornoff performed the high wire act of producing a live morning news program on Minnesota Public Radio. She led a small, but nimble team to cover everything from politics...