Artist and Industry Friends Remember Anthony
Anthony was one of the greatest encouragers that I ever had. He loved the Downings..we had lots of fun talking about those days when he was a very young kid learning to play the piano and listening to our albums, patterning his playing after Dony. In fact, for years he encouraged me to cut again an early Downing song, which I did as a duet with Paul on my latest record.
I always appreciated his talent, of course...that was a given. But more than that, I loved the way he'd grin and say just the right thing whether it had been days or months since we'd seen each other. I truly loved him...and I know he loved me. I am missing him already!
I find it amazing that on my talkshow this morning I mentioned that a friend of mine had passed away suddenly last night. When I said his name, ANTHONY BURGER, my phones completely lit up. Who would have thought that Anthony touched so many people that normally don't listen to gospel music? My audience is "political talk." Yet, they knew exactly who he was...and were just as shocked as the rest of the gospel music world is today. I've known Anthony since I was a teenage girl. He'd call me "F-R" (for furr) and I always called him "F-F" (for fast-fingers). He was too young to go...
TALK RADIO PERSONALITY
Anthony Burger encouraged me when very few people would! He called me every week to make sure I was ok. Every week, he would invite me to crawl on his bus and go with them on the road.
On the Trio dates, he was right in tune every night with what I would call. I could just look at him and he would know what I wanted to do next. His timing was perfect, He was a pro in every sense of the word.
God probably needed Anthony to be workin on the prelude to the trumpet blast that calls us all home.
I cannot find the words to express my sorrow right now.
Not only was Anthony Burger the greatest musical genius I have ever known, but I watched up close as he was a fine husband, father, son and brother to his family.
I watched just last week right before he climbed on the bus for the last time, as he took a few minutes to call a young fan who was going in for a serious brain surgery. Many times, after he heard of someone experiencing a house-fire, or a crippling illness or accident, he came into the office and said "Let's box up one of everything we have and send it." I've watched him get tears in his eyes as he read an email telling how his music had changed a life.
On a more personal level, I am grieving for the man who was not only my boss, but who was as good a friend as I ever had. He was generous and fair, and he let me know when he needed prayer, and when he was praying for me.
But on top of that, Anthony was just fun! What a privilege to get a sneak preview of his latest musical masterpiece in the making...what a joy to experience first-hand that quick wit and that dry, crazy sense of humor! Even on a bad day.... Anthony could do two things... he could focus and he could laugh.
Once when he was going through an especially hard trial, I asked him after a particularly stunning performance one evening, how he could focus well enough to play so flawlessly, with everything that was going on. He told me "I always pray when I start for the stage, and when I step out into the spotlight, it's just me and Jesus and the piano."
Right now, I am just holding on to the thought, that the next time I see Anthony, it will be him and Jesus...and a really nice piano!
My love and prayers are with the Burger family and all who cared about Anthony.
Anthony Burger Productions
Anthony Burger was one of the most talented people in southern gospel music. Anthony had a style that was all his own, and many of us have learned so much from listening to him through the years. I am so sad to know that I will never get the chance to hear Anthony play the piano again, but our loss is certainly heavenís gain.
My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who was close to him. May we all be grateful for each day we have with our families.
I loved Anthony, Lori and Luann dearly. I loved Anthony's playing and it was a pleasure to have him accompany me especially when I sang "I Can't Even Walk Without You Holding My Hand". We were always together on the Homecoming concert tours selling products side by side, talking and having fun. I will miss him terribly and so will Terelle. He was one of the few people that referred to me as JD, he never called me Jessy. He greeted me that way everyday.
It was a joy to be with him night after night and it was a pleasure to be with him, pray with him and see him go "UP" on that last night. I shall never forget it and I know when I go "UP" I'll be waiting for the Lord to call my name and I'll be waiting to hear Anthony say "JD".
My heart is very heavy as I write this message. I grew up listening and watching Anthony Burger since I can remember. The way he could electrify an audience and take just an ordinary song to a different level was unbelievable. In my opinion, the Kingsmen and Gold City changed the face of gospel music history, and he was a major part of it. I am so thankful that I got the chance the last two years to see this talent first hand standing next to him on stage as a part of the Trio, but I am more blessed to have been able to get to know him as a man and call him a true friend. Gospel Music will not be the same without him. Yes there will be other piano players to come along, but never another artist like Anthony Burger. He was the very best at what he did!!!! Anthony, thanks for the years of memories!!!
The world has lots of talented people... but there was only one Anthony. His gift went beyond mere talent. He eminated a constant awareness that music was not just his gift to the world, but was God's gift to him. He frequently acknowledged that he was only a vessel; that his hands were guided by Almighty Hands. That humility, I believe, gave his music a unique accessibility that drew us in and touched us so deeply. Anthony Burger was living proof that God can speak truth to the human soul without a single word being exchanged.
I met Anthony when he first went with the Kingsmen years ago. Never will there ever be another piano player like that of Anthony Burger. A player that seems everyone who plays wanted to fashion themselves after.
Anthony never called me by my name that I can ever recall. He always called me "Liberty". People would come up to me and say, someone told us to tell "Liberty" hello and I would always know that it was Anthony.
We are on the Jubilee at Sea and our ship passed the ship that Anthony was on the night that he passed away. Our son, Jared was in our cabin sleeping when our friend Bill Bailey called us to tell us what had happened. Needless to say, we were in total disbelief! We have all been so hurt and saddened with this news.
Our prayers are with the entire Burger Family.
To Anthony, we will find you again!!!
Liberty (Lib Stuffle/The Perrys)
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