Paul Burch – Fool For Love
Paul Burch’s latest is a compassionate study of the country swing groove, its twelve tracks chronicling the enduring truths of love and loss to rhythms tuned to Nashville’s hidden heart. Burch also continues to carve out his own artistic niche as a stylist. He understands that vocal range has little to do with emotional richness, consequently fashioning the relaxed delivery of a great communicator who remains your best drinking buddy.
Fool For Love coils and uncoils across an eclectic mix, somewhat reminiscent of his 2000 release Blue Notes, but with more of the retro ambience of 2001’s Last Of Their Kind. There’s also an increasing polish in the studio craft that underscores the sophistication here. With his WPA Ballclub cohorts, Burch can confidently assay the tautly wound low notes that spring the heat of the opening “Lovesick Blues Boy” or “Life Of A Fool” with the same authority he lavishes on the tender wide-eyed harmonies of “Call My Name” and “Time To Cry”. There’s still room for a trip on the “Louisiana Hayride” of course, and “If You’re Gonna Love Me” bounces with all of Burch’s amiable swagger and his quartet’s customary high spirits.
The final three tracks highlight Burch’s considerable charms. “Last Time I Fell” is a stripped-down wonder of western swing, with Burch and fiddler Fats Kaplin creating such a phone-booth sense of intimacy that you almost expect the fiddle bow to tap your shoulder. “Like Railroad Steel” finds Burch solo, creating a multitrack marvel of swampy echo and crystal-clear backwoods yodel that, “keeping perfect time,” successfully steers the train headlong toward home. With the graceful country waltz of “My Last Match”, Burch waves a winsome goodbye to friends from the caboose’s back window. It’s a friendship, secured through that wide-eyed vocal, you yearn to share. And it’s a trip through familiar country made new by art.