For Country Rocker (usually) Matthew Patrick, all it took was some “nocturnal inspiration” and the project was born. When Patrick woke from a dream about a high school bandmate, he Googled his old friend and found he was living not even an hour away and was operating his own studio. He also found that he had released a Reggae album under the name Andrew Diamond. After they connected, the Country tunes Patrick was working on were reinvented with a clear vein of Reggae running through them. Patrick immediately decided to apply the same formula to the rest of the tracks and Blue Sun rose.
The hybrid combination is obvious from the opening percussion beats on “Dog.” The familiar tom notes ring in the tune before the twang-laced vocal delivery of Patrick introduces the Country side of the sound. The staccato guitar beat and backing organ chirps also reinforces the Caribbean feel, while harmonica honks reaffirms the Country commitment. On paper, the two genres seem mutually exclusive, but the melding really works here. Some how. “Cry, Cry, Cry” again, features the Reggae vein at the heart of the melody with occasional bent note Blues guitar and the vocal delivery drive the tracks in the direction of roots Country. The ethos of “Bikes, Bullets and Beer” lightens the album mood beyond the feel good reaction the Reggae vein generates. This one plays out more current Country with the Reggae retreating to a minor nuance while the track is dominated by more twang vocal delivery, standard Country electric guitar work and slightly campy lyrical matter of contemporary Nashville. “Blue Green Eyes” sees the return to the Caribbean with more dub style guitar at the open with bent note acoustic picking in the background. The tempo carries the song along the groove Reggae vibe while the bulk of the vocals and musicality remains country fried save the Reggae inspired guitar solo just past the halfway mark. “Too Old To Die Young” features electric fills in tandem with Patrick crooning Country. The faraway percussion beat is still in a Reggae time signature but as with “Bikes” the Country facet dominates here.
A quick read of the press release on this project certainly raised an eyebrow. However, Patrick may have just been in the right place at the right time when he decided to track down his old friend. With a Reggae album under his belt and collaboration with accomplished artists of the genre (Bassist Lyndon “Ace” Webb) lent enough experience to make staunch Country tunes translate with Reggae nuances added. This is certainly an example of thinking outside of the box. And something bonafide happened in that studio to make Patrick take a hard left and approach the project from a different angle. It’s good; it’s fun (and funny) and perhaps most importantly: it’s different. And current cookie cutter Country needs that.
Christopher West – firstname.lastname@example.org