Jon and Ben Burchfield make music that inspires the soul. Classical guitar, midi-marimba, Irish whistles and recorders make these two artists sound like an entire ensemble! The stylistic diversity of Appalachian, Classical, Jazz, Renaissance, Praise, Worship and Gospel has attributed to the stunning arrangements that have put this Dove-nominated duo in demand.
Their concerts are a combination of music, storytelling and comedy as each plays off the other in a way that’s entertaining and captivating. An evening with The Burchfields (two brothers who mingle their music for audience enjoyment) can be described as Reaching the Ages. Prime timers love the music they recognize while young people are inspired by the arrangements and intrigued with the instrumentation.
“It all started with our musical parents while growing up in the Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee. We lived in a small community called Happy Valley, not far from Cades Cove. Many of the folks would bring their instruments to our home and play, well into the evening. That was the beginning of our musical influence.”
That musical influence would expand, when their parents moved their young sons to a little town called Bourbonnais just south of Chicago. Suddenly the Burchfield boys were exposed to a completely new world of music. “Being well grounded in gospel, spirituals and mountain music, we soon found ourselves embracing classical, Latin, and jazz along with many other styles.”
At eighteen, Jon took a job with a touring group called the Spurrlows. The Spurrlows were the backup band for Roy Clark. From the book, “Between the Strings“, Jon writes, “The next few months proved to be a whirlwind of concerts and traveling. On certain days, we would play softball with the Fifth Dimension, BB King’s band and others, making our time there an intoxicating blend of celebrities and dazzling nightlife.” Rigorous touring took its toll and for a time, left Jon in poor health. However, his recovery proved to be a time of healing and reflection. It was during that time he realized the wealth of influence he had gained from some of the world’s greatest guitarists.
Returning home to Illinois, Jon found that his younger brothers Mark (bass guitar) and Ben (drums, marimba) were already accomplished musicians. They decided to relocate to their home state of Tennessee and get involved in the music community of Nashville. Just as they arrived on the outskirts of Nashville, they pulled their car over because it had been badly damaged by fire on the way down. They couldn’t believe their luck when an old gentleman pulled over, stepped out of his car, and asked if they needed help. The Burchfield’s said, “We’re musicians, Sir.” He replied, “I know, I can tell by your car.” A very kind man, he talked with these brothers and encouraged them. It turned out the elderly Good Samaritan was the most famous musician in Tennessee, Roy Acuff!
Just as the brothers were considering a full time touring schedule, they were nominated for a Dove Award for best Instrumental CD. That set the stage for what would become many years of concerts across the nation. That was miles ago and years past. Today they continue to bring their message and music to thousands of people across America and the world.
In the Smoky Mountain Memories liner notes, Jon writes, “From time to time, we felt that gentle tug to revisit our roots. Reaching deep into our souls, we again discovered the paths that brought us here.”