FORT VALLEY -- After three years of recording, local music teacher Con Burch's patience has finally paid off.
Next month, Burch, 46, will finally get to celebrate the release of her very first solo CD. The album isn't drawing the type of hype that a project released by a world-renowned artist would, but Burch is in no rush to achieve global stardom. For now, she's taking a deep breath and savoring the completion of a prolonged recording process that had its share of bumps in the road along the way.
"I'm not going to lie, it was quite the struggle, because I had everything from a broken relationship to several broken promises about the help that I was going to have with [the CD]," Burch said. "But to finally have it done, it's like if you build a house or anything else. When you're doing it, you're saying 'never again!' But I'm already ready to do another one. All the heartache and struggle was all worth it."
Burch's new 13-song CD, "On My Sleeve," will be released on Sept. 10. Burch will host a small album-release party that evening at a friend's house in Toms Brook.
The CD, Burch says, features "all-original music" and a variety of music genres. She wrote every song and also demonstrates her piano skills on the CD.
"There's probably a country song in there ... There's a couple that may sound kind of jazzy," Burch said. "I've got a lot of piano on it, trumpets. There's really a little bit of everything."
Burch says listeners also may pick up on a few recurring themes, namely "heartache and critters."
Music has been in her blood since she began singing at her church when she was a young girl. She later became a choir director and organist after teaching herself how to play the piano. Burch majored in vocal performance at Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, W.Va. Having sung everything from pop and rock to folk and bluegrass music, she also has performed with various bands over the years.
Burch says "On My Sleeve" is a compilation of many sounds. She hopes whoever buys the CD will enjoy it, though she has no illusions about how it will fare.
"It's a phenomenal feeling, and a huge feeling of relief, just to have it done," Burch said. "It took three years. And a lot of people don't understand, either, why it takes so long. They don't understand how many people are involved, and getting recording time, and getting everybody together. As far as its success, I'm not trying to be the next Shania Twain. But I want to be proud of the product. And I just want people to be able to say 'You touched me with a [particular] song.'"
Burch hasn't given much thought as to when she wants to start working on her next album, but has expressed serious interest in creating a second project.
Any fans who may be looking forward to her next CD can expect more cheery tunes.
"It's going to be all happy songs," Burch said.
In the meantime, she'll be busy giving voice and piano lessons from home and at the Blue Ridge Arts Council in Front Royal. Burch also is focused on promoting her latest release.
"I'm going to try and do a lot of Internet marketing. It's an independent release, so I've got to do all the [promoting] for it," she says. "I'm hoping it will be everywhere."
Burch says she hopes "On My Sleeve" will give listeners a true "sense of who I am" and reflect her deep passion for music.
"Music in general, for me, is just a way of connecting with other people, just to say 'Hey, you're not alone in this situation,' or 'Hey, I've been there before,'" Burch said. "I just want it to leave people with a good feeling. Even if it's sad, just a good, everything's OK feeling."
For more information on voice and piano lessons offered by Con Burch, as well as CD releases and other inquiries, visit her website at www.conburch.com. You also can send an e-mail to Sing2you@shentel.net.