Music News

Critic's Choice

Paul Burch, Sunday, November 11, at the Gothic Theatre, may not have earned the flood of attention poured over No-Depression sweetheart and headliner Ryan Adams. But Burch has earned much respect among knowing alt-country types for his exceptional back-dated country and Americana. With his band, the WPA Ballclub, he's released three of the best country records from the past few years (Wire to Wire, Winner's Circle and Blue Notes), dreamy discs that echo the time-tested treasures of Hank Williams Sr. and his peers and brim with gracefully crafted songs that move from loping, '40s-era honky-tonkers to achy odes to lost love, rural life and dust-bowl woes. Burch packs fresh images and tickling couplets into his songs, and his Nashville-based band backs them up with stately playing -- all fiddles, steel guitars and limited amounts of 110-volt current. For this show, however, Burch will perform solo, mixing older tunes with newer ones from his latest release, Last of My Kind. (The cuts were inspired by the acclaimed Southern novel Jim the Boy, written by Burch's neighbor, Tony Earley.) This is honest, vintage country that eschews screaming "We're retro!" for a quiet whisper in the ear.
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Marty Jones