David Burchfield thought he was done pursuing music when he moved to Denver. The songwriter came to the Mile High City from Kansas in 2013 to begin work as an elementary school teacher. Then things changed.
"I was really enjoying putting my creative energy into my classroom," Burchfield explains. "But one night I was hit by a truck when I was driving my scooter. I was fortunate, because I wasn't badly hurt, but it gave me cause to stop for a minute and think about how I really wanted to spend my time. I realized that I wanted to make music that moves people, and I wanted to share it with the whole world. Since then I've been writing a bunch and playing shows with my band all over the West."
Burchfield, 31, who plays an engaging blend of folk and Americana and has performed around eighty shows this year, is in the process of recording his third album — this time around with producer Joshua James — before heading east in November for his first solo tour.
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"I'm glad to be back to the music," he says. "Being a professional musician at the emerging level can be a grind, but I keep my eye on the art and try to remember why I'm doing it. I find joy in playing music, because it's really special, and I feel lucky that I get to do it. I'm grinding hard right now getting our new album funded and finalizing songs for production, but I'm definitely enjoying myself."
David Burchfield & the Fire Guild will demonstrate their passion and skills at Swallow Hill Music this weekend as part of One Epic Night, a fundraiser for the nonprofit music organization's community outreach programs.
"We're excited to play," says Burchfield, who took a vocal performance class at Swallow Hill. "Everything the [community outreach programs] do is for [Denver's] under-resourced communities. The funds raised help provide for things like workshops and performances."
Michael John McKee, an instructor at Swallow Hill who also handles the booking for the organization's outreach program and plays the drums in Burchfield's band, says the fundraiser is critical in providing continued support for local schools.
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"We do things like school-wide assemblies where our musicians perform, or we send teachers every week to provide some after-school lessons for kids," says McKee. "We can also send some of our instructors to assist music teachers. The outreach includes the Little Swallows Program, which is an early-childhood music class for students in Denver preschools that have difficulty affording music programs."
One Epic Night features a variety of local "Swallow-centric" acts, including David Burchfield & the Fire Guild, Mollie O'Brien and Rich Moore and many others.
"I'm dedicating my time to music now," says Burchfield, "though I do still sub in the classroom from time to time. I love education, so I could definitely see myself returning to it, but I've got a while where I can test the concept of being a full-time musician, which I'm very happy about."
David Burchfield & the Fire Guild, 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, October 13, Swallow Hill Music, 71 East Yale Avenue, $75-$100.