From country to bluegrass to rock ’n’ roll, Paul Burch has done it all — just don’t try to pin him down to one genre or another.
Burch and his band the WPA Ballclub will perform Nov. 16 at the Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks, marking their first appearance in the area. In a recent interview, Burch said to expect a lively show and, with any luck, something truly unique.
“I’m always interested in finding a new way to have a new intense musical experiences without being loud,” Burch said. “My first instrument was the drums and I’m interested in rhythm and feel and how sound of something can be very evocative, especially in a live setting.”
Burch grew up in the Washington, D.C., area and moved to Nashville, Tenn., in the early 1990s to begin his music career. His debut album “Pan-American Flash” drew critical acclaim and was named one of the top-five country albums of 1996 by Amazon.com.
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Since then, he has recorded with bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley and alt-country star Ryan Bingham among others producing music that transcends genres. His latest album “Fevers” was released Nov. 5 and combines honky-tonk country with R&B and early rock ’n’roll.
“I’m not trying to sound like country or rock, I just think about how music makes me feel and why it appeals to me,” Burch said. “I kind of meditate on that and figure out a way to make it my own.”
He did exactly that on “Words of Love: Songs of Buddy Holly,” a tribute album released in 2011. Burch said the album started out as a few sessions in the studio but grew into more when he and the band realized how much fun they were having making Holly’s songs their own.
The album caught the attention of Holly’s widow Maria Elena, who invited Burch to perform at a benefit for the Buddy Holly Foundation, which provides scholarships for artists just starting out in their careers.
“A lot of us are Buddy Holly fans and went into the studio to do something that wasn’t original,” Burch said. “Maria heard the album and invited us to Austin. ... We got to meet her and talk with her, she’s a very lovely person.”