Martin Presents Jam in Place

Keeping Connected Through Music

Martin is proud to present our Jam in Place series featuring artists, performing live from their own spaces. Now more than ever, music can bring us together.

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Paul Burch

Burch is a thoroughly modern troubadour channeling a bit of Buddy Holly grafted onto Jimmie Rodgers and Ralph Stanley…  — CMT

Paul BurchSoon after moving to Nashville in the early 90’s, Paul Burch began performing downtown in honky tonks. Forming the WPA Ballclub, Burch took up a year-long residency at the famed Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge (behind the Ryman Auditorium and the informal “green room” to the Opry.) The band’s marathon shows quickly attracted a following and provided a much needed bromide to the other goings on over at Music Row. Here talent was measured not my millions of units shilled but by dollar bills crammed into the tip jar or taped to the stage.

For over two decades, Paul Burch’s modern roots music has attracted fans 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.”

Paul Burch’s works are those of thoughtful eloquence and spirited storytelling. He is, there’s no other way to put it, a craftsman. His honey smooth voice is timeless and refreshing. Paul has recorded with everyone from R&B great Candi Staton, country legend Ralph Stanley, to southern raconteurs Vic Chesnutt and Ryan Adams and was a member of the Lambchop collective.

Burch’s new album Light Sensitive (April 2020) features a dozen parables about living in the American south. Longtime co-producer and WPA Ballclub bassist Dennis Crouch is featured along with instrumental ace Fats Kaplin and guests Luther Dickinson, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Robyn Hitchcock, and Amy Rigby.

In a 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’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 & the WPA Ballclub were honored with an invitation to perform 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. Burch also 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.

Paul has performed at the Kennedy Center with the WPA, and contributed to albums by Bobby Bare Jr., Pine Valley Cosmonauts, Josh Rouse, Richard Bennett, Mark Knopfler, Exene Cervenka, Ray Price and Jenny Toomey.

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