"Burnie" Terrell, Jr.


Bernard "Burnie" Terrell, Jr.

Like “Ifield”, Burnie was born on the island of Dominica though in the capital city of Roseau. He was exposed very young to his older brother’s record collection of r&b legends like Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass, Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding and Percy Sledge along with Bob Marley and the Wailers, Third World and other household names in reggae.

Burnie began guitar lessons about the age of 11, but his interest was short-lived; he was far more fascinated with the drums, and while playing tenor steel drum (pan) with a band, he got his first professional opportunity to play them when the band’s original drummer failed to show up for rehearsal. After seeing him play in the steel band, a group of Burnie’s peers who were forming a band called the Youthman Connection invited him to join as their drummer. They played zouk, soca, calypso, reggae and some rock-influenced songs and it was during this time that Burnie first began writing and singing his original songs.

Those years were great fun, but without any financial backing the group eventually dissolved and in his late teens Burnie then migrated to New York City where he joined a band with his fellow countrymen from Dominica called the Upper Level, with whom he played for three years, before moving on to play with a prominent reggae band called Crucial Force, spearheaded by Linval Shayar Jarrett, guitarist for reggae icon Burning Spear,. While with Crucial Force, Burnie truly mastered his craft as a reggae drummer, opening for artists like Freddie McGregor, Dennis Brown, Inner Circle, Third World, Yellow Man, John Holts, etc.

Though the band played mostly the New York club circuit, it also ventured out to the west coast and to other spots on the eastern seaboard. Burnie relocated to a Springfield MA band, One Love, for few years, then hooked up with a Connecticut based band, Head Cornerstones. Every member of that band wrote and sang their original material and Burnie began honing his writing and vocal talent more seriously.

Burnie went on to play with the Chosen Few, Amandla, Don Minot and the High Voltage and Emergency opening up for Capleton and backing up the Mighty Diamonds. Now a resident of Hartford, CT, he recently did a guest vocal on the Voice of the Ghetto album entitled “She Loves Me Not.”

Burnie’s warm, grainy and credible vocals reflect the influences of Beres Hammond, Gregory Isaacs and Brinsley Ford, formerly of the British-based Aswad on his style, while his descriptive and pointed lyrics pack the wallop of Steel Pulse’s David Hinds.

Although Burnie was busy finishing his first solo album, Capsicum persuaded him to cut two solo songs on our new label’s first release, a reggae in fusion with r&b original Burnie penned with an assist from Roger and “Ifield” called “How Could It Come To This?” and still looking for his happy ending, a companion song about betrayal and heartbreak called, “The Good Guy,” a song R. Meltzer penned with D. Morris. a reggae-r&b, jazz fusion with a legato horn arrangement reminiscent of Chicago. His happily ever finally comes in a duet with Natasha Redding, entitled “You Stood By My Side.”