Called to sing … those are the words that best describe Harlan Burton. Harlan has established himself in southern Gospel music with his smooth vocals, sincere delivery and caring personality.
Harlan grew up in small, rural community that would not even show as a dot on most maps! Harlan loved that community that he grew up in and he still resides there today with his wife Gail.
Harlan grew up loving music of all styles and he began singing in church when he was seven. By the time Harlan was twelve, he was singing and playing guitar on the “Rebe Gosdin Show” once or twice a week on WSFA TV in Montgomery, AL. During the year that Harlan appeared on this program, the desire to sing was firmly planted. It has been his heart’s desire to sing since that time.
Harlan also grew up in a Christian home and he joined the church at an early age. He has been faithful in attendance his whole life. However, Harlan freely admits that he didn’t always rely on Jesus Christ the way he should have. Harlan says, “Even though I went to church every Sunday, I never learned to lean on Jesus Christ as I should have. I had not followed 2 Peter 3:18 (growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ). Everything good that happened, I thought I had done by myself and done my way. Every thing bad that happened, I blamed on someone else. In other words, I was a Sunday Christian.”
A couple of Harlan’s favorite songs are “Learning To Lean” and “One Day AT A Time.” Harlan has learned, through a few crisis in his life, to turn his life completely over to Jesus Christ. He has learned that if he lives life one day at a time, the Lord will use His Holy Spirit to teach him, guide him and strengthen him in times of need. Harlan has also learned to praise God no matter what comes his way in life.
Harlan’s professional music career began in 1967 when he joined The Tellers Quartet out of Dadeville, AL. He sang with The Tellers Quartet for eight years before embarking on a solo ministry.
In 1988, Harlan quit singing and playing music except at his home church. However, in 1996 Harlan began to feel that something was missing in his life and he immediately knew what it was. God had given Harlan a talent and he was not using the talent to reach out to others in need and tell them of God’s love. Harlan knew what he had to do and so he began traveling and singing once again. Today, Harlan is back on the road singing and sharing God’s message through song and praise. Harlan has recorded several projects since 1996 and with God’s help and blessing, his music ministry continues to expand.
Harlan was honored to perform at the White House in Washington DC on December 22-23, 2005. Harlan, along with several other artists, performed in the “Pageant Of Peace Celebration” coordinated by Christian Music Presenters, the White House and the National Parks Service.
Harlan was also honored in 2004 by Senator Ted Little of Alabama during Harlan’s annual homecoming concert. Senator Little presented Harlan with a Resolution that stated in part “Mr. Burton has demonstrated those truest ideas of Christian love and compassion for others through his music and earned the gratitude and respect of his family, friends and the citizens of the great state of Alabama.” It went on to state that “Harlan Burton is commended for his outstanding musical achievements and he is applauded for his remarkable talents and impeccable style, which has provided memorable entertainment to his many devoted fans. The Resolution was filed with the Senate of Alabama on March 9, 2004.
Harlan admits that he did always use his musical talent for God’s glory. Harlan remains thankful that he eventually did answer God’s call and he turned his musical talent over to God and he prays that God will use him as a witness for Him.
Harlan remains active in his home church. The goal of Harlan Burton Music Ministries is to reach into people’s hearts and to sing a song that will touch people and stay with them after they leave the concert. He prays that his songs will help Christians with their daily Christian walk and will reach the unsaved and help them to find a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. He wants to reach out to people and give them a blessing.
Harlan says it best when he states, “I do not preach. God did not give me the talent to preach. But, I truly believe that a song is a message from God and that the song can be used to bless His children and to reach the unsaved soul.”