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Paul Burch

Pan-American Flash – 1998 (Dixiefrog)

Reviewed by Don Yates

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CDs by Paul Burch

Part of the same retro Lower Broadway scene in Nashville that spawnedBR5-49, Paul Burch goes even further into the past for the lilting honky-tonk sound of his debut album. Using just rhythm and lead guitar, lap steel, fiddle and upright bass, Burch, who was on a Bloodshot compilation, and his band sound like they've emerged straight out of the late '40's-early '50's golden age of honky tonk. Featuring ace musicians such as Paul Niehaus (also of Lambchop) on lap steel and Jason Carter (of the Del McCoury Band) on fiddle, they swing with a casual grace that's sometimes lacking in the music of other retro acts.

Burch possesses a pleasant, clear tenor that's a nice fit for a lyrical sensibility that favors homespun truisms and elliptical imagery. With songs such as "Losers Way To Get Along" and the spoken lament, "Born To Wait," Burch's sly sense of humor helps his hard-luck tales go down a little easier. The album's loaded with other highlights, from Burch's finely drawn portrait of leaving town ("Monterey") to his humorous tale of grandmotherly advice ("Your Red Wagon").

This is a French import album, but considering the quality of the music, it would be great to see someone make it more easily available.