“Genuine talent and skill are the characteristics that set them apart from other musical acts”
Patti Joe King – Flag LIVE! 2004
It was the summer of 1993, in the mountains of Northern Arizona, when Burnett Family Bluegrass was born. The band is made of family members, Brian (dad) on guitar andmandolin, Connie (mom) on stand up bass, Rachel on fiddle, Jessie on mandolin, fiddle, guitar and banjo and Ryan on banjo, fiddle and mandolin. Oldest daughter, Lyndsay, ran away from the musician’s life, in 2002, to enter the nursing field.
1993 was the year they got their first paying job, playing music for the wagon rides at Hitchin’ Post Stables in Flagstaff. Ryan was four and Jessie was five that summer. Lyndsay, ten, and Rachel, eight, had already played the fiddle for five years. The band played music for the “wannabe” cowboys, 4 to 5 times a week thru the summer. This went on for five years. In addition to this, the family played at churches, county fairs, TV shows and special occasions thru-out the State of Arizona. They spent these years nurturing their sound with outstanding vocal blends and intricate instrumental talents that are usually expected from much older band members.
The kids were born at home and home-schooled in the country home their parents built on some land several miles outside of Flagstaff. They grew up with a team of Percheron draft horses that they rode like ponies and lived the simple country life in the high desert.
This explains their wholesome, down-home style of music that blends with their energy, enthusiasm and excitement. There’s never a dull moment when this family jams together. The music world is just beginning to notice this special, musical family.
Burnett Family Band produced their first two CD’s. “When He Cometh”, a gospel CD, was released in December of 2000. “West of Yesterday”, with five original tunes, was released in the summer of 2002.
The band’s recording, “Bend The Wind”, was released in March of 2005. Dennis Caplinger, a name well known in music circles as a much sought after player and producer, produced this exceptional collection of tunes. The title track, “Bend The Wind” was written by Connie and Ryan Burnett.
The CD is hard driving bluegrass with hot picking and those wonderful melodic harmonies that are unique to family bands. Rachel sings with the emotion and understanding of an artist well beyond her 19 years on tunes like “Train Train”, “My Sweet Love Ain’t Around” and “Lady Muleskinner Blues”. Bend The Wind magnifies the musical talents and character of Burnett Family Bluegrass.
As an incredible acknowlegement of their hard work and musical charisma, Burnett Family Bluegrass won the 2004 Telluride Band Competition. The Burnett Family has the distinction of being the ONLY family band to win this coveted title in the 32 years of the Telluride Festival. At age 14, Ryan was the youngest contestant to win the Telluride competition. As a result of their victory at Telluride in 2004, Burnett Family Bluegrass was given a featured spot at the June 2005 festival. Alison Krauss and Union Station, Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck and Sam Bush were some of the megawatt stars performing at this year’s music-jammed festival.
Burnett Family Bluegrass was chosen by the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) to be showcased in the 2005 IBMA Convention held in Nashville, TN. One hundred fifty two bands from around the world entered the competition and 13 bands were picked for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The showcases will be held in the Grand Ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville. Multitudes of bluegrass bands descend on the IBMA Convention where event producers, radio and television broadcasters, agents, record labels, the press and other artists converge to experience bluegrass in it’s many forms. Because of the move to Nashville, this year’s Expo promises to be the greatest turn-out in the history of the IBMA. The Burnett Family is honored to be named with some of the best up-and-coming bands from around the world’s bluegrass scene.