We’re here to introduce you to The Burgundy Years podcast, a show for both nostalgia-seeking fans of 1990s era Christian rock and new listeners looking to learn about an era when faith-based alternative music was a main event.
Founded and hosted by Rock On Purpose contributor Jessi Zilka, the podcast is set to launch December 14, 2020. Lead contributor and fellow fan of 90s CCM, Matt Durlin, had a chance to talk to Jessi recently. We are excited to provide an inside look at this new podcast with an exclusive interview with the host.
Matt: Hey Jessi, first off tell us a little bit about yourself and your involvement with Rock On Purpose.
Jessi: Well, I am the throwback contributor for Rock on Purpose. Basically, I’m the girl that will randomly throw out an article giving an in-depth look at an album no one has thought of in 10+ years. I’m 28 years old, living in my native state of Florida with my husband Zach and my dog Darci. I own a small record store in my hometown. I have a deeply rooted passion for Christian rock, specifically from the time period that was active when I was growing up. Being a record store owner, it’s no surprise that I love music that brings me nostalgia. But the Christian rock and alternative I was raised on is something I’m particularly passionate about.
[Read Jessi’s reflections on Blindside’s Silence]
Matt: You are launching a brand new podcast on December 14 called The Burgundy Years Podcast. What is that podcast going to be about?
Jessi: BYP is basically going to be a show where myself and a guest dive deep into the music from that extraordinary era of faith-based rock and alternative, totally geek out about it, and shed some light on tunes and acts that either remain legendary today or have been somewhat forgotten. My hope is to cultivate connections with band members from iconic acts of that time while also bringing on regular folks like myself who experienced that wave of incredible music as someone in the audience. We could cover anyone from Poor Old Lu to Bleach to Newsboys to Skillet to Ghoti Hook and beyond.
Matt: That is really incredible! I was a Disc Jockey for The “V” 90.7 at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania during this era. I have not heard Poor Old Lu mentioned in a very long time. Definitely feeling the nostalgic vibes already!
You have experience with Podcasting from The Porch Podcast, which was specifically about Pearl Jam. What was your reason for starting this new Podcast?
Jessi: Yeah, The Porch is still definitely a thing, and I absolutely love doing it! Pearl Jam is my all-time favorite band, and they mean the world to me. And while I have such a great time on that show, most of my listeners and friends in that community don’t share a similar passion for faith-based music. As I began searching for a podcast to feed said passion, I realized there really aren’t any. Sure, there are several that discuss current Christian music or worship music. But I wanted to hear content where fans discuss MxPx, dc Talk, Stavesacre, The O.C. Supertones, and so many other bands that I connected with as a kid and teen. Realizing I had all the tools to podcast from my time with The Porch, I figured why not me?
[Follow The Porch podcast]
Matt: I can tell you so many stories about The O.C. Supertones, and don’t forget Audio Adrenaline. My all time favorite tour experience was The Some Kind of Zombie tour with Supertones opening for Audio Adrenaline.
You are basically THE expert in throwback music. How did you get into music from the past and what is your favorite era of music?
Jessi: When it comes to faith-based music from the past, it’s something I’ve been saturated in since birth. My dad became a huge Petra fan when he was in high school, and that led to him and my mom always discovering new and upcoming Christian rock artists. When we weren’t listening to that, we were often jamming to music from The Eagles, Heart, Journey, and so much more. Though my taste has broadened so much as I’ve aged, the Christian rock I grew up on just brings this sense of joy and comfort with every listen. As you can see from my profession, I love music from all eras, but there’s just something about that time that feels incomparable to me.
As far as my personal favorite era of music overall, I think the 1990s are hands down the best! As mentioned before, I’m a huge Pearl Jam fan. I love grunge music and all the 90s alternative rock. I love pop music from that time as well. And the Christian rock and alt was better than ever, if you ask me.
Matt: Absolutely. The 90s were kind of the pinnacle of Christian rock and alt, and while there are some great bands now it is more fringe than mainstream. What do you hope people come away with when they listen to The Burgundy Years?
Jessi: My hope for BYP is that fans of this era of music can find a home within these conversations. I’m not here to be another show where I interview artists and leave it at that. I want people to find connections with artists, writers, touring musicians, producers, and fellow fans. I want them to hear someone say “You know who I absolutely loved? Plankeye,” and I want the listener to feel a sudden rush of joy and think “Hey, I loved Plankeye too!” If I can create that sort of environment for fans of this music, then I’ve accomplished what I’ve set out to do.
Matt: Hey, I loved Plankeye too!
Where can we find out more about BYP?
Jessi: Since we haven’t released any episodes yet, you can hit up our social media platforms on both Instagram and Facebook. When the show launches on December 14, it’ll be available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and YouTube.
Matt: Thanks for taking some time to chat with me about BYP, Jessi. I am excited to hear the show and dive into one of my favorite eras of music!