Laura Burhenn has never written timidly. As The Mynabirds (and Georgie James before that), her songs have always been confident and optimistic in the face of the pain of loss or change or confusion.
In “All My Heart,” there’s tangible pain. Her heart has been filled and then split wide open, the contents gushing out uncontrollably but beautifully, harmoniously. The thirst for feeling close to someone — as her unwavering alto voice soulfully hums, even for another minute — is worth the one-ton weight of sadness. Even an empty, cratering heart is nothing compared to an ounce of feeling, another moment of a love so deeply meaningful.
As Burhenn gently plays the O’Leaver’s upright piano, there’s a hopeful note, augmented by the gospel chord structure and Burhenn’s diary-quality sense of self-awareness. She isn’t explaining a one-off instance, she’s trumpeting the acceptance her very core: there is no other way to love than with an overflowing heart.
The Mynabirds return to Omaha Sept. 17 to play Slowdown with Bad Bad Hats and Omaha’s High Up (RSVP here). See Burhenn perform “All My Heart,” the opening track from her Aug. 7 Saddle Creek LP Lovers Know, in a hushed, dimly-lit O’Leaver’s bar this past March: