Paul Burch and the WPA Ballclub (from the album Meridan Rising on Plowboy Records) - The steps taken between an idea and the results can vary. For some, one or two paces is about as far as they get from the kernel of an idea to jumping in and hoping for the best. Paul Burch had an idea form in his mind for a tale, an audio biography of Jimmie Rodgers, the singing superstar of the late 1920’s and one of the first American musician to successfully blend various styles into hybrids. To put flesh to the plan, Paul dug through rare archives at the Country Music Hall of Fame, discussed Rodgers’ life with his biographers, and backed the stories with the music of his lifetime; the sounds and rhythms that came through Meridian, Mississippi, the hometown of Jimmie Rodgers. Paul Burch and the WPA Ballclub take the lead in Meridian Rising, an imagined autobiography of Jimmie Rodgers, the Blue Yodeler, the Singing Breakman.
Meridian Rising sets a stage with its songs, each track bearing the mark of the moments that made up the life of Jimmie Rodgers. On album opener, “Meridian”, Paul Burch as Jimmie Rodgers recalls his hometown. The engine runs smooth and fast on “Cadillacin’” as Jimmie is living high and on the run, taking on a game of chance (“Black Lady Blues”), thinking about the cuts of first love (“The Lady I Sawed in Half”), and writing his last letters home (“Sorry I Can’t Stay”). Paul Burch and the WPA Ballclub create a world where Jimmie Rodgers walks, speaks, hurts, and loves with Meridian Rising. The clock turns back its hands to point at a man looking towards a new reckoning in “Poor Don’t Vote”, living his final hours at Coney Island on “Fast Fuse Blues”, and vowing to die on his feet with “Back to the Honky Tonks”.