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Paul Burch

Fevers (Plowboy)

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., March 14, 2014

SXSW 2014 Records

Paul Burch

Fevers (Plowboy)

Paul Burch's ninth album Fevers might be his most diverse. Known for a retro sound that's uniquely modern, the longtime Nashvillian joins with his band, the WPA Ballclub, and co-producer, multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplin for a mix of honky-tonk, blues, and the unclassifiable. He starts with a curveball, the traditional "Cluck Old Hen" done as a raga of sorts, then moves on to Bakersfield with "Straight Tears, No Chaser," and lands on Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Ocean of Tears," a smoky crooning duet with Neko Case backer Kelly Hogan. Other surprises include a dulcet lullaby "(I Love) A Melancholy Baby," Cajun-fiddle-infused "Sac Au Lait (Acadia's Song)," and the gently swaying mariachi/country hybrid "Sagrada." On paper, it sounds like Burch tries a couple too many styles, but Fevers holds together thanks to the WPA Ballclub's easy yet skillful musicianship and Burch's effortless vocal style. (9:30pm, Saxon Pub)

***

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