Blue Notesby Paul Burch
It's impossible to hear this without being frequently reminded of Bob Dylan in his Nashville Skyline phase at the end of the 1960s and beginning of the 1970s. There's that same strain to be unforced and easygoing, as if to admit to any measure of doubt or sadness would amount to a cardinal sin. This doesn't necessarily lead to bad music, but it does kind of put a limit of the range of moods through which it takes the listener. It doesn't help that on the key hook of "Isolda," Burch repeats "I want you so bad," although at least the melody is different from the one Dylan used when he sang those words himself on his classic "I Want You." Still, Burch isn't a clone of Dylan in his country phase. The songs are pleasant and tightly arranged, with more attention to nuance than much plainly executed turn-of-the-twenty-first-century country music; particularly pleasurable are the occasional dabs of vibraphone, and the use of slide, pedal, and organ helps too. By and large this is devoted to good-natured love songs, and in this context "Carter Cain"--a dramatic, minor-keyed troubadour ballad with an actual sense of haunted tension--is a standout. On the whole, though, it's comfortable yet unchallenging listening.
- Release Date:
- Merge Records
Performance CreditsPaul Burch Primary Artist,Organ,Guitar,Drums,Vocals
Larry Atamanuik Percussion,Drums
Richard Bennett Acoustic Guitar
George Bradfute Bass,Guitar,Hammond Organ,Guitar (Baritone)
Dennis Crouch Bass,Harmony
Raymond W. McLain Fiddle
Mark Nevers Guitar
Hank Tilbury Banjo
Tom House Vocals
Paul Niehaus Pedal Steel Guitar,Slide Guitar
Technical CreditsGeorge Bradfute Engineer
Paul Burch Composer,Producer,Engineer
Paul Williams Burch Composer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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A great cd! A brilliant breakthrough for Burch and his all-star WPA Ballclub. Great songs that effortlessly sway to every corner of American music on the centered pen and voice of Burch whose voice cuts clear like a bright steel-cutting light through each song. Tom House's Carolina (?) drawl on How Do I Know is a wide-eyed awakening as is the living room sweet fiddle (and hilarious breakdown) on Oh My Darlin'. This is where country music should be. This is the new center.
A beautiful album of dense, colorful songs that confront the ambivalence of life, love, and luck all the while confronting the listener as to the concepts of country music and American music as a whole. The command of the WPA Ballclub, and Burch especially--who plays at least two or three instruments on every song--makes the songs sound like elastic, fresh first-takes and carefully phrased thoughtful arrangements simultaneously. ''Isolda'' and ''Willpower'' are disarming in Burch's ability as a singer to convey humor, disgust, fear, and joy within the bounds of single lines. His albums are a continuing Odyssey in American music.