Brooks Crossing in the
Burnet Bulletin & Picayune!
Bertram Sister-duo Brooks Crossing Mixes Bluegrass, God’s Love
By: Daniel Clifton // September 10, 2016
Bertram sisters Misty Richard-Crow and Brandi Richard-Brizendine make
up the bluegrass-gospel duo Brooks Crossing. Though music is their venue,
sharing their faith in God is the mission behind their songs. They recently
released their second album, ‘Rise and Shine.’ Go to brookscrossingmusic.com
for more information and booking details.
BERTRAM — The strength of the music from Misty Richard-Crow and Brandi Richard-Brizendine comes across to listeners of their bluegrass-gospel sounds. But the impact of their spiritual message isn’t always clear to the sisters of the duo Brooks Crossing until they step off the stage.“ That’s when our ministry really takes place,” Misty said. “We’ll hear stories from people about their lives and about how our music may have touched them. It’s more like we’re the ones being ministered to.”
The Bertram sisters combined their gifts as Brooks Crossing in 2011 and quickly garnered national attention as nominees for the International Country Gospel Music Associations Bluegrass Artist of the Year award in 2012 and 2013. Recently, they released their second album, “Rise and Shine,” which features original songs as well as covers, but with their unique twist.
The music, however, serves as a part of Brooks Crossing’s bigger mission.
“We’re a family ministry,” Misty said.
The music is an outreach for the two — and the rest of their family — as they share God’s love and word with others. Both look back to 2001 as the turning point in their lives when they saw Jesus as a person, someone important to them, and not just as a story from more than 2,000 years ago.
Though they grew up in a family of country musicians, things began shifting for them musically as they began their walk with Jesus. And it’s not just them. Brandi explained that the entire family — parents Don and Linda Richard, husbands Rusty Crow and John Brizendine, their children and sister Ashley Amidon — are part of Brooks Crossing. And they all share the same mission: reaching out to people.
“We actually started in our parents’ garage,” Brandi said. “We were in between churches, and our parents said, ‘Why don’t we do something in our garage?’ So we started singing and holding worship in the garage.”
Other people joined the services, and Brooks Crossing started getting requests to provide music for other churches. While they are now members of a church, Hill Country Cowboys for Christ, the sisters felt called to take their music outside the walls of a church.
“There are a lot of people who are uncomfortable going to church,” Brandi said. “We wanted to step out and mainly reach people who don’t get into church.”
The group, which initially included sister Ashley Amidon, began performing at various venues, including festivals, fairs and private parties. They focus on bluegrass and gospel music, but they have a few “appropriate” country songs in their playbook as well.
“The songs, the music, it’s a way to connect with people,” Misty said.
“It’s something we have in common,” Brandi added.
Through their music, their own testimonies and their interactions with the crowds, the two hope people pick up on the message of God’s love and grace. It’s something about which they feel very strongly.
“We talk about God and Jesus every day in our lives, with our family,” Misty said.
“He’s very real to us,” Brandi said.
While some people might struggle with the idea of building a personal relationship with God or Jesus, the sisters’ advice is not to overcomplicate it. Brandi admitted she actually finds it easier to have a relationship with God than people.
“I relate to God more than people because he understands me,” she said.
Brandi added that, for her, her relationships really grew when she started spending time reading the Bible and seeking God’s guidance. Sometimes, scriptures just popped out to her.
“He leads you to certain scriptures. Trust is built that way,” she said. “And there are times I tangibly feel God.”
It’s a matter of sometimes being still and letting God in, they explained.
“God hears the smallest prayers,” Misty said.
The next step, they said, is being willing to go where God calls you. In Brooks Crossing’s case, it was to the stage and the recording studio. And being on stage didn’t come easily for Brandi, who admitted that as a youth she once suffered from an almost debilitating case of stage fright.
As for the size of their crowds, the two don’t evaluate their success by the number of faces looking back at them while on stage.
“Everyone is important,” Misty said. “God loves everyone. It doesn’t matter if it’s one person out there. If we can touch them with God’s love and grace, that’s what’s important.” In the end, it’s not about them or their music.“It matters that you’re doing what God called you to do,” Brandi said. “He’ll open the doors.”
Go to brookscrossingmusic.com to learn more about their music and family ministry or to book the group.