Atlanta A Cappella Vocal Band | Best To Burn

Extremely Important Information

Because you have a right to know.

Oct22015

BTB@RLC: Big Show at the Red Light Cafe

After our lazy summer, we're back to make our triumphant return to the historic Red Light Cafe in midtown Atlanta. We love playing there: the atmosphere, the sound, the house bourbon... Meet our new bandmate Sam (more on her below) and hear some new tunes, including a shiny new original we're just taking out of the bubble wrap! This time we'll be joined by amazing singer/songwriter Lexi Street – don't miss! Show starts at 8pm.

Location: Red Light Cafe, Atlanta, GA

Tickets: Get 'em here!

June/July2015

We know what we did this summer.

Summers are tough, what with competing vacation schedules, family obligations, and brain surgeries. But we're settling back into some semblance of a groove, writing songs, adding covers, and gearing up for some shows in the fall and winter. Stay tuned...

June12015

We're Rich!

They say a good woman is hard to find, and that's never truer than when trying to find one with a unique voice, versatile blend, and sick sense of humor. But we found one. Let's give a warm BTB welcome to computer engineer and GTech alum Samantha Rich. She am Sam. Sam she am. Check her out.

May32015

Wedded Bliss, enhanced with BTB

When a bride asks if you want to arrange and perform a specially requested song as a surprise to the groom at her wedding, you say, of course, "I do." So we did. Seriously.

Want your own custom song for your wedding? Give us a shout.

April2015

A fond (sniff) farewell

We are sad to announce that our dear founder, Mama Hen, and Girl 2, Kate Pientka, has left Best To Burn. She has decided to go about as far away from us as is possible on this planet and move to the ironically-named Singapore. (I guess there weren't sufficient job opportunities in Sing-a-really-good. Hey!) We'll miss ya, K.

Jan182015

Little5@5 (or, BTB plays ITP)

You down with ITP? Yeah, you know...us. We had a blast at Epworth at Candler Park -- an intimate, laid-back Sunday evening of music & awesomeness.

More info about Little5@5: right over here.

Best To Burn.

(A recap.)

Best to Burn knows what you did last summer.

Best to Burn ate the last brownie. Sorry about that.

Best to Burn is a vocal band in Atlanta.

Best to Burn is ready to stuff some awesome in your ear.

Up Close and Personal

Because band websites are supposed to have bios.

Carl Christie

The heat in the soundbooth — a tiny box, really, lit by a single bare bulb — was almost unbearable. Carl rolled up his sleeves like a T-Bird from "Grease" and settled in front of the pop screen, waiting to read the disclaimers for his latest radio spot.
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Carl Christie

Carl Christie

The heat in the soundbooth — a tiny box, really, lit by a single bare bulb — was almost unbearable. Carl rolled up his sleeves like a T-Bird from "Grease" and settled in front of the pop screen, waiting to read the disclaimers for his latest radio spot.

"Could we open the door for a minute, maybe?" he pleaded into the microphone. The unseen producer didn't respond.

Carl sighed, then muttered, "To write with a broken pencil is pointless. See, because when a pencil breaks, the tip is gone and it's not sharp anymore, so —"

"Let's take it from the top," the invisible sound guy barked.

This was no way to treat the one and only Carlos Fantastico, the man who played Christopher Columbus at the 1992 World's Fair in Seville, Spain. The guy who, just by speaking, sold dozens of Hardee's Thickburgers. The voice-over artist who helped cure your jock itch by recommending a medicated powder. He was the original PA announcer for the Atlanta Thrashers NHL franchise, fercryinoutloud.

Did this producer have any idea how hard it was to learn all those Czech, Kyrgyzstani and Finnish names before announcing the roster at a Thrashers game? "Per Svartvadet" doesn't pronounce itself, you know...

Carl's basso profondo had anchored nearly every a cappella singing group that ever passed through Atlanta. He was a photographer, a DJ, a mobile massage pro and the Grand Marshal of Cinco de Marcho. But here, in this sweltering soundbooth, he was nothing but a workhorse in a puddle of sweat.

He sang to himself his favorite lyric from "The Little Mermaid" — "What would I give, if I could live out of these waters?" — and fantasized about a world where his talents would get the recognition they so richly deserved.

Fantasize no more, Fantastico. Your dream has come true.

John Hendrix

The old woman, her hair a white puff and her posture curved like a question mark, shuffled toward John and tapped his shoulder with a wrinkled and quavering hand.
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John Hendrix

John Hendrix

The old woman, her hair a white puff and her posture curved like a question mark, shuffled toward John and tapped his shoulder with a wrinkled and quavering hand.

John looked up from his "Thor" comic book.

"Here, little boy," she said. "Have a lollipop."

He opened his mouth to protest, then saw that it was cherry. A man had to pick his battles.

"Thanks," he said between slurps, then extended the handle on his rolling bag and made his way toward his gate.

Another city, another airport, another old lady thinking he was eight years old. He never had the time or energy to explain that he had left those innocent years behind long ago, that he had hefted a baritone sax for countless hours of marching band practice, that he had nearly failed an online phys-ed course, that he'd jumped out of a friggin' airplane. It didn't even help when he covered his wild nimbus of curls with the Irish flat cap he got at the Jameson Distillery in Dublin — they still thought he was a kid.

There was no way these elderly ladies could know that he was an electrical and computer engineering graduate from Georgia Tech who performed hydraulic analyses of control valves and eliminated cavitation and excessive vibration in the country's most important oil pipelines with his bare hands.

He nearly wanted to yell across the terminal to the old woman, "Do you realize that when I sing ‘You Give Love a Bad Name' at a karaoke bar, middle-aged suburban women in their mom jeans literally fall to the floor in ecstasy?"

But he didn't. He kept the lollipop in his mouth and wondered, will I ever get to show people who I really am?

Opportunity's knocking, Johnny. Answer the door.

Christy Fennessy

Christy stared at her reflection in the dirt-streaked mirror and took inventory: zip-front bustier, zebra-print stretch-pants, spangly blue scarf, fingerless gloves, faux-fur boots, teased hair, bottle of Jack Daniel's.
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Christy Fennessy

Christy Fennessy

Christy stared at her reflection in the dirt-streaked mirror and took inventory: zip-front bustier, zebra-print stretch-pants, spangly blue scarf, fingerless gloves, faux-fur boots, teased hair, bottle of Jack Daniel's.

How did she end up here, in this disgusting bathroom, after growing up in suburban New Jersey, singing preciously pretty arias in church, playing the lash-batting ingenue in school musicals, quick-sticking on the lacrosse team, and providing a delicate descant to her college a cappella group Vocal Point at the University of Rochester?

Maybe that concussion she got during a college field hockey game had taken its toll. How else to explain why a Britney Spears-chasing magazine journalist and perky fitness instructor would be at a dive-bar dressed like David Lee Roth for a gig with the world's first all-female Van Halen tribute band?

The bathroom door creaked open. "We're on in five minutes," the drummer said. "You need more eyeliner."

Is this what Christy's life had come to?

Hell yes.

The gig with She-Ruption came and went. The guitarist left the band to pursue a life of stardom and forgery in Vermont. Christy had two kids. And she continued reporting on the bond market and parkour and old ladies who write erotica. She put her sparkly costumes in the basement in a box, tucking away her rock-star dreams, and silently wished there would come a day to live them again.

That day has come.

Benjy Rose

The gold and blue trophy — topped by a tarnished bumblebee with a taunting smile — sat on Benjy's shelf, daring him to do something greater.
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Benjy Rose

Benjy Rose

The gold and blue trophy — topped by a tarnished bumblebee with a taunting smile — sat on Benjy's shelf, daring him to do something greater. Sure, he'd won the 1988 Long Island Sectional Spelling Bee, but in this topsy-turvy, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world, he needed more.

So he tried. He wrote his college application essay in Dr. Seuss's trochaic pentameter. He went SCUBA diving with sharks at the Great Barrier Reef. He played Bach's Tocatta and Fugue on a booming pipe organ at Brown University. He wore suspenders and blessed the rains while singing the solo from Toto's "Africa" with the Bear Necessities.

But the sense of accomplishment he experienced as a spelling champ continued to elude him.

Even when Benjy and his former a cappella band LiveWire won both the inaugural Southeast Subregional Harmony Sweepstakes in 1999 and the Boston Regional Harmony Sweepstakes in 2000. Even when he wrote and performed jingles about a morning radio show, UPC codes, and a wireless company moving office locations. Even when he hawked warm Diet Crystal Pepsi during weekend overnight shifts on New England alternative radio.

Nothing could erase the image of a young Benjy dressed in an acid-washed denim jacket with pegged sweatpants – lifted just a touch, so you could see a sliver of ankle – and the blue, pink and yellow baseball hat he wore tipped back on his head. Nothing could drown out the cheers that echoed in his mind: "Ben! Jee! Can! Spell!"

Nothing could top the euphoria of that win.

Until now...

Jacob Shreckengost

Jacob spoke the words with gritted teeth and felt his blood boil. He set his stein of Schneider Weiße down on the long wooden table, then turned to face his aggressor.
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Jacob Shreckengost

Jacob Shreckengost

"What did you say?"

Jacob spoke the words with gritted teeth and felt his blood boil. He set his stein of Schneider Weiße down on the long wooden table, then turned to face his aggressor.

"Say it again," Jacob growled.

The man took a step closer and repeated the insult — "I said, you are schmutz" — and then, with a dramatic flourish, slapped at Jacob’s beer stein.

The mug seemed to move in slow-motion. Jacob heard himself call out "noooooo" as he reached for it. But even the hand-eye skills he’d honed in rugby couldn’t stop that flagon of precious nectar from crashing to the ground.

His mind flashed to all the beers he’d loved before, and lingered on one particular home brew. It was a honey porter based on the White House’s recipe. Jacob had called it The Honey Badger, after the crankiest creature in all the animal kingdom.

And now Jacob was gonna go all Honey Badger on this guy.

"Bring me my blade," Jacob said.

This was how some men settled scores in the German fraternity system: with mensur, or academic fencing, an ancient art that has combatants stand at arm’s length and poke, whack and prod the unprotected areas of the opponent’s face and head. No flinching. No dodging.

Nothing from Jacob’s childhood in rural Pennsylvania could prepare him for this. Though he could rip a phonebook in half, he was a baker, not a fighter. His idea of a ritual? When his fellow biology majors at the University of Chicago required him to act out a scene from “Flashdance” with the Safety Shower. Jacob’s college a cappella group, Voices in Your Head, settled arguments with a riff-off.

But here he was, a post-bac fellow in neuroscience, wearing metal goggles and a chest protector while swatting his sword at a man who dared call Jacob "dirt."

Though in a previous bout Jacob earned seven stitches, in this one he would deliver 27 before the match ended.

Jacob’s brothers filled his mug and clapped him on the back. It was the first time he’d felt like a hero.

Now, he has another shot at glory.

Samantha Rich

"Oh Captain Lundvik, what am I gonna do with you?" she purred to the three-legged tabby and the 56th animal she'd fostered since graduating from Georgia Tech just a year before.
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Samantha Rich - Best To Burn

Samantha Rich

The cat stretched, then slunk into Sam's lap, itching for a scritching.

"Oh Captain Lundvik, what am I gonna do with you?" she purred to the three-legged tabby and the 56th animal she'd fostered since graduating from Georgia Tech just a year before. At her feet was Rigsy — or "Pudding Brain," as she'd nicknamed the slobbery mutt — and perched on her left shoulder was the parakeet, Madame Karabraxos. Snuggled next to her on the couch was the little pig she called Doctor Who.

Sam herself sometimes felt like the good doctor, who in his adventures through space and time encountered more than 180 alien species and regenerated, again and again.

She was born 10 weeks early in Augusta, Ga., and survived. She went SCUBA diving in Australia and lived to tell the tale.

She lined up outside the theater in the middle of the night to see the Harry Potter movies. Her solo on the White Stripes' song "Seven Nation Army" with her college a cappella group, Infinite Harmony, made the song almost danceable.

She knitted. She baked. She simplified enterprise mobility management platforms. She once thought she had pancreatitis (it passed). And she read a lot of books. (Not just anyone can get away with having a BKEATER vanity plate on her VW Bug, you know.)

But here, surrounded by her animal menagerie and her boyfriend (he was in the room, somewhere. Maybe under that pile of marmosets?), she yearned for a new adventure. Something akin to rolling down a grassy hill in Scotland. Something exciting, something ... oh, what would you call it? It was on the tip of her tongue ...

Something like Best to Burn.

Hear, here.

Awesomeness in your ears.

Previously unreleased fly-on-the-wall rehearsal recording. Enhanced with Vitamin B, reverb, and whiskey.



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