By JOHN DALY
Patrick Ames discusses life and its ongoing challenges and triumphs throughout the album Liveness. It’s an emotive and heartfelt record that has carved a niche in folk-rock in punk rock style.
The 6-song record starts off with “Bang Bang Bang,” a talking, take-no-prisoners melody, bluesy and fun. While serious in approach, there’s a flexy groove to the song. At times, Ames’ voice is almost rubbery while resonant, somewhat similar in tone to Leon Russell or a Dr. John. The album opener “Bang Bang Bang” has good tones even though the lyrics are etherially obtuse: “Bang bang bang becomes Me me me.”
There’s a far-reaching broad social statement here and the music is Ames’ homage to Gil Scott-Heron. Thank goodness the musicians can lead the way where news reporters have left off, particularly in the commentary department.
“Only a revolution of voting and protest will work, you can’t just tweet from your living room, you have to get out into the streets. We all do. ” goes the song, but of course right now, the problem is we’re on hold, otherwise this works well. We do not know when we will be allowed to gather again.
It is appropriate timing that Ames released this important album around this time. There is a range of styles on the EP. But each song is a good story. Listening to the album is like reading a great book of short stories. The collection is entirely captivating and engaging.
The song “I Want You” sounds like it was recorded on some cassette player in a small airport somewhere. The analogue sounding and echo chamber in which the music was recorded indicates something interesting, some travel imminent. It is indeed Bossa Nova, but it’s more interesting because of the echo of the recording location. It could be Brazil in 1968 judging by the sound. It’s simply great.
“Just Before I Said I Do (Wedding Song)” is great. Imagine a grizzled guy with a fun delivery singing “I Love You” right to you. It’s earnest and fun, limited on lyrics, but fun. It’s like an earworm and appealing.
The “Slow Dancing” song sounds a lot like if Dire Straits went into mellow Samba mode. A nice sound and innovative to some degree, Ames’ voice is a great multitasking instrument, great as storyteller as well as gruff singer.
“Suspicions” is a deep punk baritone melody that’s been blended with deep Americana’ hopeful flight that captures the dreams of the people. It’s a guitar and voice, a throwback to John Cougar Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen without the E Street Band. This song could easily be included in a fine singer’s collection and Ames strength as songwriter comes through loud and clear.
“Want to Believe” is a remix of an Ames song from the album Standard Candles, a blend of topical story and harmony. The scat-a-tat beat plays a prominent role.
Artist Name: Patrick Ames
Location: SF Bay Area California
Release Name: Patrick Ames
Producer: Patrick Ames
1. I Want You
2. While You Were Making Babies
3. Queen Kae
4. Te Amaba Locamente
Patrick Ames: Guitars, midi-guitar synth, vocals
Chana Matthews: vocals
Mikaila Matthews: vocals
Paulo Augustin Rzeszut: guitars