The Burney Sisters made their second appearance at the Missouri State Fair on Tuesday with three performances at the Superior Sleep Stage.

The day was blessed with excellent weather for an outdoor show, and the Burney Sisters (Emma and Bella) delivered a most excellent show for the few fairgoers who showed up for the free 6 p.m. concert, the final show of the day for them. Helen Russell then completed the live performances at the stage for the day.

Emma & Bella, their mom and step-dad recently returned from Colorado, where The Burney Sisters gave several performances.

“We love it every time, Emma said of their Colorado shows.

“We were in Lyons. It was for Planet Bluegrass Song School, it was really nice,” Bella said.

The harmonizing multi-instrumentalists collaborate with other bands whenever they can, such as the Accidentals, whom they toured with in 2022.

Bella, 13, plays the cajon (a Peruvian drum that resembles a wooden box), electric bass and piano.

Emma, 15, plays violin, cello bass, guitar and piano.

Neither of them are beginners; they have been doing this for quite a while, giving live shows and producing homemade videos that their fans adore.

Who taught the girls to play?

“Oooh that's a hard question,” Bella responded.

Emma responded by saying that it was “70 percent teaching ourselves and 30 percent other people,” she said. “I learned violin from Molly Healey from Springfield, Mo. She also inspired me to do “looping” which you saw tonight, because that's what she does. And with guitar, I took some lessons, you know, I just dabbled in lessons for a little bit of them, just to get me, you know, started. But once I could figure it out myself, I did.”
Bella noted that “Emma writes a lot of our songs in our set; I've written one song. A lot of them are covers, but we're working on an album this year, in the winter.”

The wintertime is a great time to write & record new music, both girls said, when they don't tour as much.

“Last year, we didn't do as much recording, but this year, we're going to record our first cover AP, for which I'm really excited,” Emma said.

When asked if they have a recording studio they work with in Nashville, Bella responded “We want to be able to find something, but we use our basement for now.”

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As for touring, The Burney Sisters traveled to 23 states since last year. One time, Emma said she thought she was in Kansas City. Turns out she was somewhere in Indiana. “And it took me all day to figure that out.”

One thing both girls miss when they're on tour is their dogs. Big dogs. Ones you can't take on tour with you. Like a Pitbull and a German Shepard mix. They stay home in Columbia, Mo.

“All of our stops on our tours have animals, so that's or animal fix, on tour,” said Bella.

The Burney Sisters' mom and their step-dad drive a large RV which pulls a trailer with all their instruments and sound gear contained within. Mom mans the merchandise table, while step-dad helps set up & tear down the stage at each show, some of which happen in someone's backyard.

The sisters have aspirations of driving the RV themselves. “Someday it'll be us,” Emma said, adding that she's still trying to perfect her parallel parking skills in a normal car.

Every hardcore fan of the band knows that The Burney Sisters started as a duo with Emma and older sister Olivia. Then Bella, the youngest, joined the band.

Now, Olivia has departed the band, leaving it as a duo once again.

Emma explained that Olivia Burney is doing her own solo work now. “She's also exploring more ventures with fashion, something she really loves. She's been putting on her own curated fashion shows and art shows, because she does art, too,” Emma said. “ I think she's been playing some solo shows, but mainly art and fashion.”

The current lineup of The Burney Sisters are planning a house concert tour, including stops in New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania. “Hopefully we'll get back to North Carolina soon, probably Florida in the winter,” Emma commented.

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The Burney Sisters

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