Paul Burch: Blown Off By 'Honey Blue'

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Friday's Pick

  • Song: "Honey Blue"
  • Artist: Paul Burch
  • CD: Still Your Man
  • Genre: Blues-Rock
Paul Burch 300

In "Honey Blue," Paul Burch spins the story of a hopeless romantic and his whirlwind romance. courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption courtesy of the artist

Thank goodness for Paul Burch's fumbling fingers: The latter-day honky-tonk artist accidentally erased the finished take of his song "Honey Blue," so he put an earlier version on his new album, Still Your Man. As a result, the track has an earthy, impromptu feel, as if a bunch of talented musicians just wandered into a studio — in this case, a converted Nashville garage — and began jamming.

Paul Burch; courtesy of the artist i
Paul Burch; courtesy of the artist

Burch kicks off "Honey Blue" by pounding on the animal skin stretched across his childhood drum set for a "tom tom" beat. Then along comes Jen Gunderman's flirtatious New Orleans piano; she's part of Burch's backup group, the WPA Ball Club. Her 88s play the part of the titular Honey Blue, who, "when she crosses the street, she crashes all the cars." With mellow vocals and a bluesy guitar, Burch goes on to spin the story of a hopeless romantic who met Honey Blue one morning and married her that night. His mother, not surprisingly, disapproves.

The rockabilly-meets-R&B vibe of Burch's album pays homage to his grandmother, an AM pop-music programmer who once hobnobbed with Chuck Berry and Link Wray. As for the character of Honey Blue, she's reportedly based on Burch's own wife; though they remain happily married, her counterpart in the song is a handful. When her man wants more, she shoots back a volley of staccato piano notes and says, "That's enough." At the song's coda, Burch plays a minor chord and some regret-filled riffs. He calls her name repeatedly, his hapless voice fading as if he's walking away from the mike. The teasing piano is gone, too, but it's not likely that Burch and Honey Blue left together.

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Paul Burch And The WPA Ballclub

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