By Alanna Nash
Updated May 04, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

Burch, whose elegant brand of old-time country has made him a modern-day Jimmie Rodgers, attempts a bold experiment: a song cycle inspired by the characters of Tony Earley’s novel Jim the Boy. While the lyrics on Last of My Kind sometimes seem thin, the music — spare honky-tonk, harmonica shuffles, and ’30s-style jazz, wrapped in a Dylan-meets-Roy Acuff sensibility — can be remarkably transcendent.