Release Date: Apr 24, 2012
Record label: Bloodshot
Genre(s): Country, Alt-Country, Americana, Alternative Country-Rock
The package for Great Chicago Fire includes a tongue-in-cheek note from the owner of Bloodshot Records urging the Waco Brothers and Paul Burch to team up despite their "paltry record sales" in an effort to create something that "should aim to be between the 14th and 25th best rock albums ever made. " Part of what presumably makes this funny is the fact that Paul Burch has never had a reputation for rocking out -- he's an excellent songwriter who has made a handful of fine albums fusing various roots styles with traditional country sounds, but rock & roll just isn't in his wheelhouse. The Waco Brothers, on the other hand, have always been a rock band first and a country act third or fourth, despite their clear reverence for the genre and its traditions.
Chicago’s Waco Brothers are a true force of nature onstage. One of Mekons great Jon Langford’s many side projects, they were a band born in the mid-‘90s who developed a reputation for blending country heartbreak and hell-raising with a rebellious across the pond sensibility. After an almost ludicrously ambitious output of eight albums in their first decade, the Wacos have been quiet since 2005’s Freedom and Weep, with just one live album to tide over fans of their hell-raising honky-punk.
The Waco Brothers are a bunch of scraggly Brits — frontman Jon Langford also leads the on again/off again Mekons—who have synthesized a particular brand of boozy/sleazy country through their UK sensibilities since 1995. Here they join with Nashville’s Burch, coming off a successful Buddy Holly covers disc, for a meeting of the minds that tempers the Waco’s aggressive style with the singer/songwriter’s more restrained, melodic approach. 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.