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Festival review: CMJ Music Marathon goes into overdrive with Heavy Birds, Stationary Set, Single Mothers' punk fury and the alt-country majesty of Blank Range, Friday, October 24

My second day of the annual CMJ Music Marathon proved no less exciting as the first, as the onslaught of bands contin...

Festival review: Twin Peaks amplify, Kate Davis swoons and the Kills keep on their mean side at CMJ Music Marathon in New York, Thursday, October 23

CMJ Music Marathon 2014 is happening, and there's no better city than New York for it. So much diversity in a cit...

All Aboard for Fun Times: St. Louis show highlights for October 24-26, 2014

A short-on-details edition for a short-on-shows weekend -- not much to recommend.

Concert review and photos: John Pizzarelli test drives a new guitar with his quartet at Jazz at the Bistro, Wednesday, October 22

The newly renovated and expanded Ferring Jazz Bistro offers an amply wide stage, but the John Pizzarelli Quartet opte...

East Side Slim's Picks: New releases from Seth Walker, Jim Lauderdale, Al Basile, Bobby Hutcherson, David Sanborn and Joey DeFrancesco and more

If you're in the market for fresh music in a roots vein, here are seven new releases your ears are just begging f...

Concert photos: Carolina Chocolate Drops (with Birds of Chicago) at Off Broadway, Sunday, October 19

Carolina Chocolate Drops took the stage in front of a sold-out crowd at Off Broadway on Sunday evening.

  • Festival review: CMJ Music Marathon goes into overdrive with Heavy Birds, Stationary Set, Single Mothers' punk fury and the alt-country majesty of Blank Range, Friday, October 24

    Saturday, 25 October 2014 12:02
  • Festival review: Twin Peaks amplify, Kate Davis swoons and the Kills keep on their mean side at CMJ Music Marathon in New York, Thursday, October 23

    Friday, 24 October 2014 15:45
  • All Aboard for Fun Times: St. Louis show highlights for October 24-26, 2014

    Friday, 24 October 2014 12:22
  • Concert review and photos: John Pizzarelli test drives a new guitar with his quartet at Jazz at the Bistro, Wednesday, October 22

    Thursday, 23 October 2014 10:24
  • East Side Slim's Picks: New releases from Seth Walker, Jim Lauderdale, Al Basile, Bobby Hutcherson, David Sanborn and Joey DeFrancesco and more

    Tuesday, 21 October 2014 08:00
  • Concert photos: Carolina Chocolate Drops (with Birds of Chicago) at Off Broadway, Sunday, October 19

    Monday, 20 October 2014 15:16
Tuesday, 17 April 2012 08:00

Hear and Now: Stream the new album 'Great Chicago Fire' by the Waco Brothers & Paul Burch

Hear and Now: Stream the new album 'Great Chicago Fire' by the Waco Brothers & Paul Burch flickr.com/photos/robotclaw/6844024260 / Steve Terrell
Written by Roy Kasten
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After all these years, beers, miles and piles and piles of country songs and stories, the Waco Brothers and Paul Burch really shouldn't be having so much fun. That they are is reason enough to celebrate their new collaboration.

"Great Chicago Fire" officially brings together the legendary Chicago insurgent-country band with an equally legendary left-of-center Nashville songwriter, Paul Burch. The Wacos and Burch are hardly strangers to each other's music, but on paper the union shouldn't work. The former is best known for their politically-charged, rocked-up twang that dances on the grave of country music, while Burch is best known for writing pitch-perfect country and pop melodies that swing with grand and witty grace.

"Great Chicago Fire," then, comes as a bit of shock. The Wacos rock and twang with full fury and Burch keeps right up with them. He gets in touch with his inner Rockpile on the chunky, twangy power pop of "Wrong Side of Love" and "Monterey," rides the full-on, Dylanesque electric charge of "Transfusion Blues" and still makes time to luxuriate in the lonely release of "Flight to Spain." Across the whole album, his supple voice stands up to all the firepower the Wacos can throw at him -- and they throw a lot.

Of course the album also makes room for Deano, Tracey Dear and Jon Langford to take their turns at the front of the hard-core honky tonk stage, dodging beer bottles on the catchy "Give In" and just blasting away on the title cut as well as a stomping version of Dylan's "Hard Rain's Gonna Fall." Like all 11 of the album's tracks, the sound is loose, loud and live -- just like the spirits of these old friends having a blast making brand new music.

"Great Chicago Fire" will be released on the Bloodshot label on April 24, 2012.

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