Those who know the name intimately Courtney Patton won’t need to be persuaded to pay attention to a new album from her. No long-winded critical review needed, they pre-ordered this thing weeks ago, and lots of attention and love will be pouring into it for the weeks and months to come. Her extraordinary songwriting as well as the organic and local way she approaches her career has created a personal connection with her fans in Texas where she comes from and in listening rooms far beyond.
Although soloing with an acoustic guitar is how Courtney Patton is best known on the road, Electrostatic is a full-bodied musical experience that in many ways is reminiscent of some of those 80s Rosanne Cash records produced by Rodney Crowell—Seven-year-old evil etc It’s all centered around the songs themselves, and the music isn’t as concerned with being country as it is with being iconic and respectful of the feelings found in the writing.
This results in more emotional and soaring moments compared to the more intimate and acoustic moments on previous Courtney Patton records. As part of Patton’s efforts with her husband Jason Eady to keep songwriters and their fans sane during the pandemic with live stream events called Sequestrated Songwriters, Courtney experienced a retrospective featuring the early influences of music. songwriting, and you hear those influences intertwined in moments of Electrostatic.
“Night Like The Old Days” is written like a country song, but it sounds like an adult contemporary of the 80s, and even the name verifies Shenandoah and James Taylor appropriately. You can imagine “So Flies The Crow” rolling off the radio of your mother’s 1987 Chevrolet Caprice Classic station wagon. of the singer-songwriter.
And if or when you fear this album is beyond your sensibilities, it will call you back. The way Heather Stalling’s violin comes in the back half of “Never On the Hurting End” about those lucky SOBs who were never heartbroken really completes the feeling. Although Patton was quick to say this isn’t exactly a pandemic record, “Hold Fast” encapsulates the feelings we all reckoned with during the peaks of lockdown and illness, while “Electrostatic “deals with the death of his sister nearly 20 years ago adds important reflections on the overcomings we have all had to deal with in higher frequency.
But where Electrostatic really starting to hit its stride is with the song “Dog Gettin’ Blues”, which speaks to all of us and our frustrations that come from self-evaluations and personal struggles in very reverberating and relatable terms, resolving in a sense of gratitude those of us on the right side of the court deserve to have it for our small victories in life. “Do You Feel Love” peaks at the “Courtney Patton with a Band” concept that went into this record. A soulful feel has always been present in Patton’s music, but on this album it’s on display and you can hear it palpably.
And perhaps the pinnacle of songwriting, soulful approach and emotion of this album is captured in the brilliantly written and emotionally overwhelming ‘Casualty’. If you want to know how to achieve an emotional crescendo in a song, study this composition carefully with how the melody and writing resolve in an “instant”, and how the harmonies of Gordy Quist and Kelley Mickwee seem to be sung an octave . too high at first but turn out perfect. All of this makes for a song you will enjoy over and over again.
If you miss the singer/songwriter’s more intimate take on Courtney Patton, she also returns to it in the album’s final song titled “This Heart.” But Electrostatic is more about putting electrified elements behind Courtney Patton’s songs that have always had more plasticity than you might think. They could be rendered in virtually any setting, approach, or genre, and still resonate. Because at the end of the day, when it comes to Courtney Patton, it’s the song that’s the center of attention, because that’s what takes you somewhere, teaches you something and sticks with it. you long after the music has finished.
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