Thursday, March 3, 2016

Paul Burch at Sid Gold's Request Room

Born and raised in rural Maryland and Virginia, Paul Burch's family in the 1970s took him to concerts by Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, and John Prine in the Washington D.C. area. In the early 1990s, Burch moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he became an occasional member of Lambchop and a popular mainstay with his backing band, the honky-tonking  WPA Ballclub. Burch's albums mined vintage country swing and rockabilly. His 10th album, Meridian Rising, an imagined musical biography of roots music pioneer Jimmie Rodgers, was released on February 26, 2016.

In a rare visit to New York, Burch performed an underpublicized show tonight at Sid Gold's Request Room. Playing solo on guitar or with accompaniment from a pianist, Burch introduced his exploration of the life and legend of Jimmie Rodgers, sharing anecdotes and reinterpreting Rodgers' songs. Burch also had Americana songstress Laura Cantrell join him on a few songs, and invited her to sing on the Rodgers theme by herself as well. The show was not the kind of rousing, swinging show Burch has performed in the past with his band, but instead spotlighted his smooth, husky voice and the formidable songs themselves. Burch alone on guitar retained an authentic old-timey sound, but for best results, Burch hopefully will bring along his skiffle band next time around.

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