Paul Burch, Angela James, Sima Cunningham | Hideout | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Paul Burch

Paul Burch

Paul Burch, Angela James, Sima Cunningham 

When: Thu., Feb. 6, 9 p.m. 2014
Price: $10
Scrappy Nashville singer-songwriter Paul Burch has mastered all sorts of classic American music, something he proves yet again on last year’s Fevers—and in his hands those old forms never sound dated, fetishized, or misappropriated. Released by Plowboy, a new label co-owned by former Dead Boys guitarist Cheetah Chrome, the album opens with the traditional “Cluck Old Hen” (one of three songs that aren’t Burch originals), whose spooky, skeletal arrangement uses mandolin and violin to ingeniously blur the lines between bluegrass and Arabic music. Burch also brings a crawling, atmospheric rumba feel to his ominous murder ballad “Luck Ran Out,” but the album is more consistently satisfying when he sticks to familiar turf—his tune “Straight Tears, No Chaser” is a classic honky-tonk weeper, with the singer’s tears providing the salt on the rim of his cocktail, and his version of “(I Love) A Melancholy Baby,” whose sweetly naive arrangement belies the aforementioned baby’s chronic dissatisfaction with her suitor, sounds like a mashup of Buddy Holly and Ron Sexsmith. “Sac au Lait (Acadia’s Song),” which celebrates the catching and cooking of Louisiana crappies, takes Cajun music for a spin a la Hank Williams’s “Jambalaya,” and on a terrific cover of “Ocean of Tears,” Kelly Hogan plays Kay Starr to Burch’s Tennessee Ernie Ford. For this show Burch performs with bassist Dominic Davis and drummer Tommy Perkinson. —Peter Margasak Angela James and Sima Cunningham open.



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