Alright…Patrick James Clark! You and I sir…we’ve got something to discuss before I get into reviewing your music sir…yep, that’s right mister, not another word from me about your excellent songwriting until we resolve this beef I’ve got with ya…
You see my friend…it’s just that…well…when I push play on your latest EP, and the opening track “Busy Loving You,” starts in with all its silky-smooth guitars and melodic overtones…when THIS happens…and all of a sudden I can FEEL my wife smiling from across the room…well, what can I say? She’s my compass for everything good; has an amazing eye for talent and just as good an ear, and apparently even from all the way the heck over wherever she actually IS right now, I’m not even sure where that is to tell you the truth…
When I finally popped over to the couch, that smile was exactly where I said it would be. I looked at her and simply said, “You love this, don’t you.” Definitely a statement, not a question. She looked back at me and nodded a huge YES while continuing to listen.
I tell you this, Patrick James Clark, for two reasons:
1) TRUST me brother – I can write a million words here on any given page, but there’s no better confirmation out there today on the issue of whether or not your music is appealing to the masses than passing through the musical judgment of my wife. Truly, congratulations sir!
2) Hands off my wife, Patrick James Clark…
In all seriousness, this guy can write a great pop melody. With a slight infusion of rock, blues and maybe even jazz at times, this genre-bending artist has a lot of things going for him and the indication of a lifetime spent in pursuit of this moment. You can feel a sense of relief from Patrick James Clark throughout these songs…there’s a comfort here in the music that I can only describe as the ‘I’m finally on my way’ feeling. You can hear the genuine love of music all over these tunes and the true appreciation for this moment in his journey.
As far as guitar playing goes – sign me up twice to see this guy. What a player, this guy found himself a champion of a guitar player in Frank DeBretti – this guy just absolutely melts notes and beautiful tones out of his guitar and into his music; his solos are pure perfection. You can always tell genuine when you hear it, you can sense the real deal; this entire EP was produced in the heartland of amazing songwriting, Nashville. I firmly believe that entire city will happily send you back to where you came from with your old suitcase and guitar if you can’t let your talent truly shine through; and let’s just be clear, they not only let him stay to play, write and record without a lynching – they’ve embraced his music, songwriting and sound.
There’s all the right passion and emotion put into each song, again, to me, it’s very clear that you can hear how important these songs have been & are to Patrick, and his strong connection to them. I tell people all the time when talking music, this is what we want…we as in the people…we want REAL. Sometimes REAL comes with flaws, but those imperfections are always looked over because we are actually honored you can be REAL with us. I don’t think there are any particular ‘flaws’ on the Letters To Beatrice EP; I think stylistically, Patrick James Clark has made every effort to stick to what brought him to Nashville in the very first place, his raw talent. I felt like, when listening, that vocal-wise he was clearly left almost bare through the production; what you hear is truly him and his pure voice. I’m not saying he needs an auto-tuner, he’s fine on tone, but I did find myself wondering once or twice what his ‘second-gear’ might sound like. To me…there’s evidence of a true-rock-rasp somewhere perfectly in the middle of John Mayer and Joe Cocker in there that’s still waiting to burst forth. From the smoothness of the music, to the pictures you can see online…I just wanna get this guy beyond-excited and see him let it all loose with every bit of energy he’s got.
But that’s me. Not Patrick James Clark. Laid back is his style and he wears it well…I’m no manager, I’m just telling you what I hear underneath it all…I hear a voice that is capable of doing some excellent things, but also one that holds its own currently against some challenging parts and truly fantastic songwriting. “I’m Gonna Find Her,” is a beautiful melody and a compelling love story; lyrically and structurally, PJC is right on, every time.
Especially these final three! As “I’m Gonna Find Her,” leads into “Letter To Beatrice 1942,” you’ll instantly hear a track worthy of titling your EP after. This guitar-solo from DeBretti is another example of the perfect way that these songs come together. Just perfectly played parts, inventive in melody and, again, it all comes through straight from his heart right to your ears.
As it wraps up with “Warm,” it leaves you that way; warm. There’s an extreme comfort in listening to these songs from James Patrick Clark, and he’s maximized that feeling in this final, melodic, harmonious track that flows from one perfectly realized part to the next. Right down to the very final notes, Patrick James Clark has written a captivating EP full of authentic love & pop that will keep you with him and listening all the way through.
Find out more from his homepage at: http://patrickjamesclark.com
Jer@SBS – http://sleepingbagstudios.ca/