Paul Burch East to West

He may be based in Nashville, but this troubadour is way too authentic in his approach to country to seduce the Music Row establishment. That’s unlikely to bother Burch, not when he wins kudos from the likes of Mark Knopfler (who gave Burch time in his studio to record this) and the late great John Peel. In fact, his encounter with Peel surfaces in a tribute to the influential DJ that is one of many highlights on this excellent and eclectic collection of songs. It kicks off with a folk-flavoured tune, "Montreal,” one that features such clever wordplay as "she took off her dress and gave me the slip.” The haunting "Before the Bells” features Knopfler on fluent lead guitar, while "Last Dream of Will Keene” is a strong traditional-oriented ballad. A lovely rendition of Carter Stanley’s "Little Glass of Wine” features bluegrass patriarch Ralph Stanley on guest vocals. Such stellar players as Fats Kaplin, Richard Bennett and Tim O’Brien are featured alongside Paul’s backing band, the WPA Ballclub, ensuring impeccable musicianship. Over the course of five earlier albums, Burch has become a leading light of the Americana scene, and East to West will cement that reputation. (Bloodshot)