On his seventh album, Still Your Man, Paul Burch challenges what it means to be modern. There is no auto-tune or any of the other gloss that's slathered on today's country music. In fact, these 14 tracks play like a survey of old honky-tonk and rhythm and blues styles. Burch's fantastic songwriting and small musical touches blend with this timeless sound and result in an album that is both contemporary and classic.
Burch's influences come together on this album. He was lucky enough to grow up with a grandmother who was a program director for a D.C. Area AM pop station in the 1950's who helped introduce him to artists like Chuck Berry and Fats Domino. In 49 minutes, Still Your Man winds back and forth between everything from dry, bluesy rock (“Like A Train”) to delicate pop love songs (“Vena Amore”).
A great moments early on in the album arrives on “Honey Blue," a gritty and loose R&B tune, when Burch drops the tempo drastically in the last 30 seconds and longingly calls out “Honey Blue” over mournful chords. It's this kind of moment that makes this album so fresh.
Lyrically, all other song writers should envy Burch. His simple and effortless writing works beautifully in his music. In his tribute to free enterprise “Down to the Black Market," he sings “My money goes where it's appreciated/ and every penny I got finds a home” and it's just right.
The entire album is loose with an impromptu feel as if a bunch of great Nashville players just got together and played a bunch of standards. While every song is undeniably Burch's own, all of them wouldn't feel out of place if they were sung years ago by Jimmy Rogers or Sam Cooke.
Still Your Man captures the vitality and soul of the classics and makes the old into something thoroughly modern and masterful.
Burch will play Local 506 on Wednesday, Sept. 9. Tickets are $8 and Birds or Monsters will open the show at 9:30pm.
(Editor's note: Welcome to our new correspondent! Justin is new to the area and comes to the Triangle from Fort Collins, Colo., where he was station manager of KCSU, Colorado State University's student radio station. We trust you'll all give him a warm welcome as he immerses himself in the local scene.)