Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter and musician G.F. Patrick is prepping for the release of his premiere platter One Town Over. The album is set to drop on May 29th on Need To Know Records. But first, for those not yet familiar with the artist in question, a bit o’ background.
Patrick was once a member of the award-winning folk music group Black Horse Motel. He is no stranger to performing live either. According to his official website, Georgia-born performer G.F. Patrick employs “a post-country voice to examine the lives of everyday people and the way their unique pressure points have brought them to the given moment.”
Patrick’s signature sound is a mix of multiple music genres. It includes elements of alt-country, Americana, and folk-rock. He tries to remain true to the idioms of country and folk music, while also using standard song stylings to “attack” what he considers to be “outdated archetypes.”
One Town Over
On this 14-track disc, Lee leads the way on guitar, and vocals. He is backed by such other artists as Billy Conway (drums and percussion), Frank Swart (bass), and Mark Blasquez (electric guitar and keyboards). All of the songs here are his own.
Track by Track
The album opener is titled “Mud.” It’s a strong opener and provides an ample introduction to what is to come both in terms of music and message. This song speaks to the surprising way in which the things we want and get can actually impact on us negatively.
The second song is “Trucker’s Song.” It is not a throwback to the “Convoy” days. This is a thoughtful reflection back to a childhood memory and a serious reflection on how some of us live our lives so far from home.
The next number is “Refugee’s Plea (Jungle Prayer).” He gets a bit political here on this cut but it’s okay. Woody Guthrie did it decades ago so it’s to be expected from today’s traveling troubadours.
The title track, “One Town Over”, follows. This one is perfectly placed as it reminds people that it is important to keep your focus closer to home and not forget your friends.
“Tennessee” is the first single off this disc. Worthy of attention, it was premiered by The Bluegrass Situation. While a song about this place is not entirely unexpected, he effectively puts his personal perspective and tuneful trademark on it and that makes all the difference.
“Anger of Magdelene” is one of the best songs here. It’s upbeat and no doubt appeals to anyone who has worked a real job. More importantly, it puts a super spin on the traditional murder ballad by making the subject a woman.
“Butterfly Effect” is another song born of a very personal experience. It’s a musical cautionary tale of sorts that he is quick to admit may lack the wisdom he once hoped to share with his little daughter.
“James McGovern” takes things in a slightly different direction in terms of lyrics. The song follows a fine history of songs about the poor working man and focuses on the subject of coal mining.
The music remains consistent and moves on holding one’s interest as we move on to “Blood on the Bottle.” It provides a thought-provoking look at the relationship between domestic abuse and alcoholism. Rather than take the usual tired “pre-equal rights” tone though, it refreshingly discusses the abuser’s experience upon accepting his own actions.
“Six-String Directions” offers another unique perspective. It may not be as heavy as some of the other tracks but that is why it stands alone.
“Like Father” takes the listeners back to another serious issue: depression. Patrick carefully walks the razor’s edge between making his point via a musical metaphor and sinking into muddy melodrama.
“Till the Day We Die” works well both in terms of music and message. His signature sound remains solid and he dares to be realistic and admit that while perseverance may make for some pretty popular song lyrics, the world doesn’t always provide us all with happy endings.
“Beauty Fades” is radio-ready. In fact, it’s perfect for one of those TV movies that specializes in making us all feel better about both our relationships and our very bodies getting older.
The album endnote is “Water Rising Up.” This call to action cut is wonderfully general in terms of the lyrics though so it is in nor danger of being too timely. After all, hard times are always more dramatic and therefore seem more prevalent than the good times.
There’s also a slower, untitled bonus song here that provides one final example of Patrick’s abilities as a singer-songwriter. It works well on an album that focuses on the commonality of issues and the fact that life is not meant to always have happy endings.
Overall . . .
Overall, the platter solidly focuses on his belief that there is something unifying and common in what some may feel are individualistic problems (depression, relationship issues, etc.) This album is the result of his honest efforts to put “music to the narratives of the overlooked and forgotten.” Here Patrick presents effective song-stories that he believes will “create opportunities for conversations that he hopes will “avoid the polarizing effects” of the present day. So check out G.F. Patrick’s One Town Over or regret it “Till the Day We Die.”