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Stateline band brings in thousands for local food pantries through live stream concerts

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ASHTON (WREX) — Music is a powerful tool many turn to when times are tough.

It can often be an escape to a better mindset to help forget about the struggles and obstacles life is presenting.

Enter Burn N' Bush.

The band comprised of the last names of the band members.

Rod Burnette and Dave Bushman.

Both men call the stateline area home, Burnette from Rochelle and Bushman from Dixon, and have musical roots planted deep from their youth.

"I was playing in a country band when I was 16-17 years old, going to Rochelle with my dad's band back then," Burnette said.

"I'd been playing in rock bands for years. Then the band that I was in broke up and I thought I was done with it," Bushman said.

A thought that went away after Bushman met and started getting closer to Burnette.

Both men began hanging out through coaching kids sports and learned about each others musical backgrounds.

It led to the two playing a few songs together and the next thing they knew, Burn N' Bush had a decade of gigs under their belt.

Many of their performances are exclusive to the stateline area but there was the occasional trip to Nashville sprinkled in.

However, this year, like with so many others around the world, things changed due to COVID-19.

"We were scheduled to play on the 20th and 21st of March in downtown Nashville and I think it was Monday the 15th we had to cancel everything because they shut everything down," Burnette said.

The dominoes quickly fell, leaving Burn N' Bush with few possible performances.

It also led to an idea on how to still be able to reach their audience.

Live-stream concerts.

"We thought there's a lot of people out there that want to be entertained and still listen to music so we thought we'll throw together our own live feed on Facebook," Burnette said.

"We just kind of went from there for about 7 or so live feeds we did in total."

The Facebook jam sessions drew viewers not just from the stateline, but all over the country, including listeners from Canada.

Eventually, Burn N' Bush set up a way for people to tip them for their shows which didn't take long for numbers to rack up.

"We were probably between $3,500-$4,000 that we took in," Burnette said.

"We donated to all the bartenders of all the gigs we had cancelled and then from there we went to making several donations to a lot of the local food pantries around the area."

Money also went to buying meals for police departments across the area.

For Burnette and Bushman, it just feels good to give back to a community that has always supported them.

"I like doing that kind of thing anyway. I have a special needs daughter and people have helped us out a lot," Bushman said

"I try to good things for the community. That's something we enjoy doing. It makes us feel good."

"We've been real fortunate to have full time jobs and be able to play music, play around the area and everyone has been really good to us," Burnette said.

"It was our time to give back a little bit so it was very satisfying. Glad to do it."

Click here if you want to learn more about Burn N' Bush and their band schedule.

If you know anybody who is trying to make a positive impact in our community, please let us know.

You can fill out a nomination form by clicking here.

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Evan Leake

Evan Leake anchors for 13 News Today and 13 News at Noon. Evan grew up in Darien, Illinois, a south-west suburb of Chicago. He came to WREX in 2017 and worked his way to the anchor desk in May of 2019. He coordinates both the Teacher of the Week and Inspiring 815 series for 13 News. You can connect with Evan at eleake@wrex.com or Evan Leake on Facebook.

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