Paul Burch

Last of My Kind

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AllMusic Review by

Last of My Kind may be the first ever soundtrack to a book. Nashville musician Paul Burch wrote the gritty folk tunes on the album as an accompaniment to his friend Tony Earley's Depression-era coming-of-age novel, Jim the Boy. Like Earley's universal Mark Twain-esque story, Burch's songs come right from Americans' subconscious, from the collective myth of Americana crystallized in Huck Finn, Tom Joad, and Jay Gatsby. With a similar flair to the Coen brothers' barn-raising O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack, Last of My Kind fits well with the raspy narratives, creepy ballads, and back-porch stomps of Harry Smith's brilliant Anthology of American Folk Music. Burch's songs have their own stories to tell, whether he's singing of the game of life in a pure, clear voice on "Up on the Mountain"

("Where the honeysuckle grows/The world below laid out plain for me to see like a board of Monopoly") or recounting the story of a murderous farmer in the spooky shuffle "Harvey Hartsell's Farm." Burch's brilliance lies in the fact that he has created a period album pulled out of the past but imbued with a contemporary relevance and resonance that make it just as poignant as a novel of the same sort. As he sings in the title track, "Today I came to realize that I am the last of my kind."

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