| BS 120

Great Chicago Fire


The muddy work boots, anarchic stage shows and fondness for committing musical “pure butchery” of the Wacos match up with the stylish craft and classicism of Paul Burch, a Nashville songwriting treasure.

Full Description

A Chicago band known for its muddy work boots and anarchic stage shows  may seem an odd match for the stylish craft and classicism of a Nashville songwriting treasure, but that’s just what came to be on the Great Chicago Fire.

Great Chicago Fire is a happy collaboration borne out of Paul Burch, a progenitor of the ‘90s Nashville Lower Broad scene, and the Waco Brothers, the Lenin-esque statue in the Square where the avenues of punk, country and rock-n-roll intersect, sharing pitchers of Guerro’s margaritas in Austin, TX at SXSW. Maybe it was the salt, maybe it was the heat, maybe it was the parade of cowboy boot shoppers and industry moguls passing before their eyes on South Congress Avenue, but two distinct creative energies decided to explore what music they could make together. Sharing songwriting, performing and production credits, it puts Paul’s voice at the front and center of the Waco mighty sonic assault; it’s a willing collision of energy and ideas, of different voices, possibilities and permutations.

It turns out that the spit of the Waco Brothers, so at home in the blue collar and punk rock dives of Chicago, share an emotional camaraderie with the polish of the traditionally minded and archetypal stories and songs Nashville’s Paul Burch has skillfully produced in his career, with both styles benefiting in surprising ways. The anthemic bluster of the Wacos, exemplified on the title song—with the whiff of T. Rex in its grooves—adds muscle to the thoughtful eloquence of the Burch penned “Monterey” and the galloping “Transfusion Blues,” while the Appalachian echoes in “Up On The Mountain” move from the holler to the pub.

On the flipside, Jon Langford’s jittery first-wave punk urgency on “Cannonball” is tempered by Burch’s deft touch with the piano and hand jive percussion; don’t even get us waxing about the tremolo guitar and those saucy sweet backing vocals by Tawney Newsome and Bethany Thomas. With Burch’s inborn pop leanings as a polestar, the Wacos show they not be all fistfight energy, as with their closing time wistfulness on the gorgeous and lush “Flight to Spain.”

Similarly, Deano’s meaty hooks and rust belt lyricism on “Give In” and “On The Sly” would fit right in at the Nashville watering hole shrine Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. Wrapping it all up with the sun’s about to come up and it’s time to go home giddiness of a night spent jamming with friends is a bleary and joyful singalong version of Bob Dylan’s “Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall.”

Great Chicago Fire
Flight To Spain
Transfusion Blues

Short Description
  • The sound of a group of men who grateful to be working together, happy to be playing their favorite style of music and unable to contain their excitement. Fortunately for us, they didn’t try.

    — PopMatters
  • If Keith Richards fronted the Texas Tornados this is EXACTLY what they would have sounded like.

    — Cool Album of the Day
  • This collaboration gives Burch’s melodies the muscle they need, while bringing a dash of class to the Wacos’ party. Bring on a second round.

    — Winnipeg Sun
  • Witness the title track, which imagines what T-Rex might have sounded like had Marc Bolan grown up favoring dive bars and cheap beer rather than feather boas and top hats.

    — TONE Audio
  • The vigor and rowdy spirit is always looming, but never gets too intense, which works well, and allows both driving forces of the project to be heard. This is just evidence of a metric ton of talent.

    — Slug Magazine
  • A bracing, wickedly smart album that draws on the strengths of both acts...If the Rolling Stones were still making great records, this would be it.

    — Chicago Tribune
  • It's just as insurgent as Bloodshot typically promises but Burch brings a less boozy vibe to the sessions that nonetheless remain loose, vibrant and crackling. Country rock done right, ie: without anyone taking themselves too seriously.

    — American Songwriter

Track List

  • 1. Great Chicago Fire
  • 2. Give In
  • 3. Wrong Side of Love
  • 4. Flight to Spain
  • 5. Cannonball
  • 6. Monterey
  • 7. Someone That You Know
  • 8. Transfusion Blues
  • 9. On The Sly
  • 10. Up On The Mountain
  • 11. Hard Rain's Gonna Fall


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