Joanne Burns is a wife and mother. She has been married to her husband, David for over twenty years and together, they have two children, Andrew (17) and Steven (14).
Joanne is involved in a retreat program called Handicapped Encounter Christ or HEC for short. HEC retreats are designed to meet the needs of physically disabled people who would otherwise have trouble finding an accessible retreat facility.
The HEC retreats are where many of Joanne's songs get their start. Jesus Take The Wheel has been a popular song at the HEC retreats for several years. "Sometime during the retreat, someone always yells for the song", says Joanne. Then I get out my banjo and play, and people get up and dance. Even the people in wheelchairs dance by spinning around! Things get a bit crazy when we play "Jesus Take The Wheel".
Some songs were written to be sung with the people in a quiet mood as part of a religious service. There are songs like "Love So Deeep" that have a simple refrain that can be sung by almost anyone. "The song's refrain was written to be deliberately simple so that even a person who might have a speech difficulty could still sing the song" explains Joanne.
Joanne's music is uplifting and positive without being too "preachy" as some religious music can be. This music is mostly not written from scripture in the Bible, but more as a heartfelt "response" to scripture. In other words, you won't usually be able to look at a song from this recording and say, "That's written from psalm 23". Many people say that Joanne's music helps them to develop a relationship with God. One woman recently told Joanne that since she started listening to Joanne's music, she prays more often. Some people like to listen to the songs just to lift their spirits.
The Prodigal Son Story is a section of the CD that has been important to some people. This is a mini-musical. There are three songs, and these songs are mixed in with Bible scripture to form a musical story. "This interpretation of the Prodigal Son Story is very accessible to churches and youth groups and I have used it that way several times". Joanne says. "The songs are easy to sing and people start joining in very quickly".
There is one song on this CD that seems to come out of nowhere. That is called "Dilly Darrow". It has a fun fiddle part in it. "This song is just for fun. Its not religious at all. Its like an Irish Jig. The words don't seem to make sense, but they are really just about dancing, having fun and acting silly" says Joanne. "I'm surprised at how many people really love the song, Dilly Darrow" she exclaims. "It could be a childrens song".
When you put on this CD, you might feel like praying, then you have a soft, prayerful song to play. If you feel like dancing, you've got that too.