You can always rely on Paul Burch to deliver rewarding music. Since his debut release Pan American Flash, he has been mining a rich seam of Americana from honky tonk, blues, rock ’n’ roll to soul inspired sounds and also taking in a love for a good Buddy along the way.
Fevers is produced by Burch with his old friend Fats Kaplan. This is Burch’s tenth release that has included a collaboration with the Waco Brothers (Great Chicago Fire) as well as an album based on a book Jim The Boy by Tony Early (Last Of My Kind) and the aforementioned set of Buddy Holly covers (Words Of Love). This album’s lineup includes such regulars as Dennis Crouch, Jen Gunderman, George Bradfute, Chris Scruggs, Richard Bennett, Kelly Hogan and Kristi Rose as well as Kaplin on fiddle and steel. Burch himself plays upright bass, drums on a number of cuts, and guitar on the majority. He is the constant while the other musicians are varied on the different cuts. The musicians are used as required to suit a particular song and this adds to the variety and tone throughout.
The album opens with Cluck Old Hen a cover song that has an old-timey folk feel but one with a sonic edge that signals that Paul Burch is no mere copyist but an artist weaving the strands of American music into an honest song. Couldn’t Get a Witness has the feel of a Bo Diddley classic. The pure honky-tonk of Straight Tears, No Chaser goes right back to his days in Tootsie’s on Lower Broadway. The sound moves slightly further South with Sagrada. Saturday Night Jamboree wafts in from the airwaves of a forgotten radio barn dance and is marinated with a joyous swing and some compulsive fiddle and steel. That all these songs (bar Ocean Of Tears and I’m Going To Memphis) are from the pen of Burch only adds to your knowing that this man has a deep understanding of a wide range of music. In other hands this range might be too diverse to have a single vision, but Burch is the lynchpin here. His voice is distinctive and dynamic and his personality and positivity shine through. This is the sound of someone who cares more for performance than perfection, but in saying that, Fevers is close to achieving that perfection. It is the synergy between all those involved that is captured here and this makes it so ultimately rewarding.
Paul Burch has dedicated himself to music as producer, player, writer, singer and student. He remains one of Nashville undiscovered talents, but with albums like this he deserves to heard by many more listeners than he previously.