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Music Review: The Birchfield Brothers – Times and Seasons

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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 arrangement that has 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 play nice together) 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.

Inheriting their musical influence from their parents, who exposed the brothers to an array of instruments even after moving away to a little town called Bourbonnais just south of Chicago, they were suddenly opened 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.”

Just as the brothers were considering a full-time touring schedule or returning to Tennessee, 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.

This year 2010 marks the brothers’ eleventh CD: Times and Seasons which highlights timeless classics and hymns interspersed throughout the twelve track album.

With songs such as “The Wayfaring Stranger,” a spiritual/folk song which talks about a melancholic soul on a journey through life. The journey portrayed here are the trials and tribulations of life. Home is the final reward of reuniting with loved ones in Heaven. On this reflective mood comes the evergreen “Manzanita” a Tony Rice traditional bluegrass/ folk classic (1979).

Times and Seasons is a “best of” collection from the duo and celebrates twenty years of recordings inspired by nature itself, being the perfect example of letting go of the old and embracing the new.

Also included is the classical arrangement of Afternoon of a Fawn,” and “Heart of Mary”. Before juxtaposing a blend of Appalachian, mandolin cum guitar performance of “To Him Who Sits on the Throne” made popular by Don Moen, with a definitive rendition of the “Amazing Grace” hymn on wind instruments and strings followed by a neatly pitched smooth-jazz version of “Laguna Lights.”

At first you’d argue that the production was made by an ensemble of musicians but no, its simply the two brothers. Times and Seasons continues sweetly with Sausalito,” “Sunset Coast,” “Song of the Forest,” before peaking at a celestial high with “Doxology,” and finally dropping the notes with an Irish prayer: “Be Thou My Vision.

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About HouseofRefuge

A niche media commentator, technophile and entrepreneur. A frequent freelance writer for major media outfits apart from running own weblogs. A few of which include; Yahoo voices, Lionsgate, EMI Music, Audiofile Magazine et al.
  • Deanna Daniel

    I’m listening to Times and Seasons as I write. When one musically “disects” every phrase in each album, you quickly realize the Burchfield Bros. are musical Einsteins. They play thoughts, deep thoughts, not just notes. Added with their love for our Lord, they are by far, THE best. Plus, my husband says their music just makes you smile and he’s right. I gave my sister one of their CD’s for Christmas and that is what she wanted to listen to before and after major surgery. It’s very healing and peaceful. God bless them both with health, safety as they travel and many, many more albums! (and trips to Colorado)