Backlife

 

For over two decades, Paul Burch's unique vision of American roots music has attracted characters and collaborators from punk to honky tonk. “At the risk of being impeached by the bluegrass purists,” wrote legendary music critic Chet Flippo, “I think Burch is the best duet partner Ralph Stanley has found since his brother, Carter Stanley, died in 1966.”

Burch's latest album
Meridian Rising (2016) on Plowboy Records & Glider Ltd is an imagined musical autobiography of American music pioneer Jimmie Rodgers and was produced with GRAMMY winner Dennis Crouch. Meridian Rising features Burch's WPA Ballclub with Fats Kaplin, Tim O'Brien, Jon Langford, William Tyler, Billy Bragg, Jack Silverman, Chloe Feoranzo, and Garry Tallent of the E Street Band.

In a 1996 Billboard cover story on the emergence of Americana, Burch's debut  Pan American Flash, was  called “extraordinary … establishing Burch as a leader in marrying country’s roots tradition with a modern sensibility.” The album went on to be ranked No. 5 on Amazon.com’s Best Country Albums of the Decade and all of Burch’s subsequent LPs have landed on pop, rock and country “best of” lists in the U.S. and U.K.

In 2015, Burch performed at the White House with Hip Hop for Public Health as part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign with Chuck D and Doug E. Fresh and contributed to the album Hip Hop for Public Health. And his salute to Buddy Holly, Words of Love, found a fan in Holly’s widow, Maria Elena: “Paul has everything Buddy wanted to hear in an artist — his own style and his own sound.

Peter Guralnick, author of biographies of Sam Phillips, Elvis Presley, and Sam Cooke, wrote about PB & WPA Ballclub for the album Still Your Man:

I'm a Paul Burch fan.
How could I not be?

How many other contemporary artists have forged a body of work of such cleverness and coherence, careful craftsmanship and white-hot heat, with all the zeal of the most dedicated student and all the passion of a true original?


It’s different every night, but it never fails to achieve its purpose, what Sun Records founder Sam Phillips has deemed the unequivocal purpose of every kind of music: to lift up, to deepen, to intensify the spirit of audience and musicians alike.  Listen to the music. Every time it offers the possibility that this may be the best one yet.

Visit the Discography page to read more about PBs albums featuring the WPA Ballclub, the Waco Brothers, Mark Knopfler, Ralph Stanley, and many more. 

 

Meet the WPA Ballclub & Meridian Rising Players


 

Roy Agee | trombone
Justin Amaral | drum set
Richard Bennett
| National tri-cone, ele. guitar
Billy Bragg
| vocalist
Henry Burch 
| tom-tom & percussion
Dennis Crouch | upright bass, co-producer
Dominic Davis 
| rhythm guitar
Chloe Feoranzo | clarinet & tenor sax
Cal Gray 
| baritone sax
Jim Gray 
| rhythm guitar
Jen Gunderman | piano, harmonium, accordion
Fats Kaplin | tenor banjo, ele. steel guitar & fiddle
Jon Langford 
| vocalist
Emily Nelson 
| cello
Tim O'Brien | bouzouki & fiddle
Tommy Perkinson 
| drum set
Jack Silverman 
| archtop guitar
Garry Tallent 
| tuba
William Tyler 
| acoustic guitar
Bernie Walker 
| trumpet
Roger Wiesmeyer 
| oboe