Matt Patershuk

Same As I Ever Have Been

(Black Hen Music)

Produced by Steve Dawson, this Canadian release stars Matt Patershuk as – going by the tongue-twister titles as chief wordysmith. Sometimes You’ve Got To Do Bad Things To Do Good ( Adolf Hitler – 1944) kicks things off with a dirty girt tone that evokes R L Burnside. His voice has a hint of Tony Joe White.

Gypsy has well-recorded electric piano and nods to J J Cale. The backing is not overdone, they seem to use what makes the song work, giving us all a clean listen. Ana Egge contributes sweet backing vocals and the mandolin by John Reischman is a cool touch. He sounds much more Alabama than Vancouver!

Hot Knuckle Blues is a back porch country thang whilst Good Luck uses gritty slide and a touch of delay on a loping tale. Memory And The First Law Of Thermodynamics is gently paced lament with ethereal steel guitar in the mix. Boreal comes in on a soft tread and this setting again suits his voice ; Blank Pages And Lost Wages hits a meaner and more cutting sound altogether, I expected Merle Haggard to start singing!

Cheap Guitar nods to John Lee Hooker and Lightning Hopkins albeit with Jerry Cook’s saxophone. The repetitive beat here is annoying. Same As I Ever Have Been is a tremelo’d waltz and Matt sounds uncomfortably close to Lee Marvin – up two semi-tones, mate!

Atlas puts the steel upfront and has a distant tinge of the soundtrack to Local Hero til a semi-spoken vocal growls in. Sparrows sounds like a lost John Prine song and is delivered and keyed well. Swans uses arcane guitar tones to bring in a song that would have been fine for Elvis Presley, in semi-gospel mode. Overall too laid-back for this listener, something tells me this is a crew who should be heard live. Hopefully they are.

Pete Sargeant


Matt Patershuk's new album 'Same As I Ever Have Been' is out now on Black Hen Music.

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Matt Patershuk