INSPIRED BY THE INPUT of friends he didn’t know he had, East to West, Paul Burch’s sixth CD, is full of spirited storytelling, both rousing and solemn, each song unfolding like a small movie. The result is, at once, an effusive toast to music and an unflattering look at a modern world where not only is the glass half full, but it’s being drunk down faster than we can refill it.
Burch is a veteran of Nashville’s vibrant Lower Broadway scene in the mid-’90s—where talent was measured not my millions of units shilled but by dollar bills crammed into the tip jar. In addition to his solo work, Paul has recorded with a range of artists—from R&B great Candi Staton, outlaw country progenitor Bobby Bare Sr, to southern raconteurs Vic Chesnutt, Ryan Adams and the Lambchop collective.
East to West was recorded in part at Mark Knopfler’s British Grove Studios in London. With backing from the WPA Balllclub and Grammy-award winners Ralph Stanley, Tim O’Brien, and Mark Knopfler himself, East to West captured the first takes in the studio, all undeniably alive with a Buddy Holly-tinged fire.
The disc also includes a clever nod to John Peel, inspired by a night of singing and record spinning with the legend himself and a duet with Ralph Stanley, recorded at the legendary RCA Studio B in Nashville.
East to West is full of effortless pop smarts and early rockand- roll style, casting Burch’s creative powers in a whole new light and elevating his craft. It’s also the best damn record he’s ever made.