Features May 7, 2021

Home Team For The Win: The Burroughs’ “Zero Sum Game”

by Valerie Vampola

After a year, The Burroughs have re-emerged with a new video and single, “Zero Sum Game.” The song is a first time songwriting collaboration between drummer Mary Claxton and frontman Johnny Burroughs, bringing cool RnB vibes reminiscent of Lake Street Dive and horn orchestrations a la Steely Dan, mixed with the band’s classic soul sound. It marks Claxton’s official debut as a lead vocalist with The Burroughs, although her vocal talent has long been showcased with the band on stage and on their records. On one Saturday afternoon, the video (watch below) was filmed in a single, continuous shot, keeping focus on Claxton’s unbroken gaze as her environment seamlessly changes around her, revealing different members of the band, all of whom performed prop moment and off-camera choreography in real time.

Indeed, the song and video reflect a communal, can-do attitude. “The message of ‘Zero Sum Game’ can be applied to our relationships, politics, and communities,” Claxton tells BandWagon. “There is enough to support all of us, and we never lose by lifting each other up.”

From the props to the lighting, videography and location, the project is a culmination of Greeley-based, community collaborations. Filmed at the Union Colony Civic Center (ironically only available for this purpose due to the pandemic) the video is an homage to a stage many of the members have gotten to know over the years; an icon of the little city where they got their start. 

The Burroughs premiere the video for “Zero Sum Game” today. Above photo by Michael Olivier, cover photo and video direction by Joe Brayan.

Over the past year and a half, The Burroughs explored new musical territories, dipping into more modern sounds with their 2020 singles “We Got to Stand” and “Love and Unity,” which earned them a slot on a Spotify official playlist for a few months in 2020. As the band continues to seek out this new frontier of musicality, they know they can trust each other’s instincts and ideas with confidence, as they continue to bring good music to fans new and old. They also see “Zero Sum Game” as the beginning of a new era, truly featuring each band member.

 “Our strength has always come from the fact that we are a group of friends who love and respect each other,” Johnny Burroughs stated. “I am excited for future collaborations that showcase the talent of every member of this band family.”

“Zero Sum Game” is out now on all platforms – watch the video below! The Burroughs perform live June 19 at The Lincoln Theater in Cheyenne and June 25 at The Boulder Bandshell. Visit www.theburroughssoul.com for more.