Atlanta A Cappella Vocal Band | Best To Burn

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Because you have a right to know.

Dec202014

You say "Raga", I say "Muffin"

BTB makes its triumphant return to the stage at the Ragamuffin Music Hall in Roswell, GA. Highlights will include the debut performance of rookie Jacob Shreckengost, some new material including a never-before-heard-outside-the-confines-of-BTB-rehearsals original, and special guest appearances by The Graduates and Catatonic. Good times.

Social-ize: Check Facebook event right over here.

Tickets: $10 available at the door.

Sep22014

Let's talk about our members

After multiple rounds of auditions, callbacks, tests of strength, and swimsuit competitions, we are extremely thrilled to announce that we have increased BtB membership by 20%. Jacob Shreckengost is his name, and...singing...is...his...game? Photos and mostly-not-made-up bio coming soon. As well as a primer on how to pronounce his last name.

August2014

We know what we did this summer.

We've spent the past few months reworking some music, writing some music, and recording some music. Recordings will be available somewhere in this general vicinity in the not-too-distant future. We're also gearing up for some shows in the fall. Want to book us? Want to perform with us? You know what to do.

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.

Kate Pientka

The VW's front seat wasn't so bad. Kate reclined it, then balled up her Colgate University sweatshirt for a pillow and covered herself with a jacket so the cops might not notice her when they rolled past her parking spot at the truck stop.
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Kate Pientka

Kate Pientka

The VW's front seat wasn't so bad. Kate reclined it, then balled up her Colgate University sweatshirt for a pillow and covered herself with a jacket so the cops might not notice her when they rolled past her parking spot at the truck stop.

Her two cats — Mofo Awesomepaws and Tigerdrawers — snuggled in a nest of Welcome-to-Wherever brochures and kept a close eye out for vagrants and other uninvited looky-loos.

Leg cramps aside, this car made for a fairly comfortable apartment during Kate's five months on the road.

While driving through 46 of the 50 states, Kate learned not to jump when she heard things go bump in the night. She'd think about going skydiving, or getting her MBA at Emory University, or designing theater sets, or she'd plot out trips to China, Chile and Guatemala on the whiteboard in her mind.

"Mantener la calma," she'd coo to Tigerdrawers as he'd attempt to bust through the window like a battering ram.

Pulling out onto yet another highway in yet another state, Kate would sing a few bars of the Ednaswaps song "74 Willow," one of her solos with the Colgate Dischords: "I've been looking for the ending my story lacks/A strong enough magnet to pull me back."

Now, she's found it…

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.

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.

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.

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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