Michael Patrick’s new CD, “John Wayne Movies” tells the tale of living, life and the memories we all hold dear.
Marlboro-based country, folk, and Americana singer/songwriter Michael Patrick recently released his latest, long overdue recording, John Wayne Movies, with two special CD release shows on October 13 at The Lighthouse Tavern and October 20 at Roxy & Dukes.
Named Top Country Folk Artist by the Jersey Acoustic Music Awards, Patrick has shared the stage with Randy Travis, Clint Black, Rosanne Cash, Marty Stuart, Billy Joe Shaver, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Outlaws, David Allan Coe and Gary Allan, Steve Earle, Carlene Carter, Justin Townes Earle and Chris Knight to name a few.
Also, he founded and fronts local bands, The Suburban Hillbillies and Ring of Fire, a Johnny Cash tribute band. Patrick’s latest recording, John Wayne Movies, is his fourth studio release, and includes 10 Nashville and New Jersey produced tracks, seamlessly blending styles of country, folk, roots, and rock. In the vein of Patrick’s influences Lyle Lovett and Johnny Cash, John Wayne Movies defies labeling and instead incorporates danceable melodies and heartfelt storytelling that fit nicely under the umbrella of Americana music.
The tales John Wayne Movies tells are born of Patrick’s own personal tragedy and triumph in the years since his last release seven years ago, Another Song You Never Heard. Patrick, a longtime fundraiser for the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation with his annual Jersey Country Revival benefit concerts, lost his wife of 20 years to complications from Cooley’s Anemia in 2013. With John Wayne Movies, Patrick leads the listener on a musical journey from the dark places to the uplifting and inspirational.
Patrick’s take on love lost in the somber “When Everything was Broken,” unconditional love found in folky “Man’s Best Friend,” growing up and growing wiser in the rocker “When I Grow Up,” all come from a place of honest experience. Patrick’s snarky, comedic side shines through in “good riddance” numbers that everyone can relate to, “It’s Always My Fault” and “That Look.” With life lived and lessons learned, this new project unveils a more mature songwriter, willing to take risks on different musical styles and ideas. The title-track, “John Wayne Movies” is written by Patrick’s good friend and co-writer, Joe Iantosca. Patrick recalls hearing it many years ago and knowing then he wanted to record it. It’s a nod to Patrick’s fan favorite nostalgia songs, “My First Car” and “Cash in the Attic.”
Patrick prides himself on energetic live shows, encourages audience participation and lots of spontaneous interaction. He feels a sense of obligation to connect with patrons, to deliver a smile and pull people out of their shells. “I command attention, that’s my job after all. I don’t want to be background music!” Patrick has logged over 1500 live performances in the tri-state (NY, NJ, Pa.) area, in addition to annual tours down south. Along with his band, he has performed at such prestigious venues as the Union County Arts Center, Strand Theater, Mayo Performing Arts Center, Paramount Theater, Bergen Pac, Stone Pony, Starland Ballroom and B.B. King’s.
So, let’s take a listen to a few of the songs on John Wayne Movies and see what Patrick really has up his sleeve for 2018.
First up is “Won’tcha Get up” Patrick’s knack for country twang is evident as his band winds up and delivers boot scootin’ shuffle ala George Strait or Clint Black. Slinky, back porch electrics squeal as Patrick croons over bass, drums, pianos, and backing vocals. It’s hard to realize that this guy is from Jersey when you hear something like this. Verses move into satisfying verses and hooky choruses before the lead guitar comes in for a few measures to pepper the middle-eight with Nashville style. A true and beautiful jaunt into western boogie brilliance.
Up next is the disc’s namesake. “John Wayne Movies” is an instant classic. The song kicks off with Patrick’s toned vocal and acoustic guitars as he reminisces about baseball and memories before sailing into a fantastic chorus. Steel guitars soar as the band belts it out with style. Patrick’s passion for storytelling comes out like gangbusters here, and his skill at pairing lyrical content with musical direction is extremely evident. “John Wayne Movies” stays with me even now as the chorus for this is so strong you can’t help but remember it for weeks. It reminds me of being on the road myself, truck stops country roads and all the life and lore that goes with traveling. It also contains info about my favorite star, John Wayne. Congrats go out to Patrick and Co-Writer Joe Iantosca for writing a truly great song. If Michael Patrick can get this into a rotation with country stations, he will have a bona fide hit on his hands, it’s that good.
Another tear-jerking beauty is “You’re Not Who I Thought You Were.” Patrick can mix it up with the best of them, but I’m a fan of his mid-tempo ballads and country rockers. This song fits both that first and second description perfectly. Laid back and filled with pianos, organs, guitars, bass, and drums, Patrick and crew punch a proverbial hole in the side of conceptions with a rousing and skilled composition that stays in the pocket and delivers tons of clout. Tackling the age-old conundrum of unrequited love, Patrick does a bang-up job of telling it all and leaving nothing out. Middle-eight piano and organ work is stellar. They tie the song in beautifully and bring Patrick back with style. Bare, bold and filled with talented musical delivery, “You’re Not Who I Thought You Were” is a sure-fire winner.
While I don’t have time to mention every song on this stellar 10-song disc, I did want to mention another classic called “When Everything Was Broken.” Patrick once again takes the reigns when it comes to storytelling. Compositionally speaking, this song is as near perfect as I’ve ever heard when it comes to a country jewel and one of the few in New Jersey that can pull it off. I’m not sure who is playing fiddle on this track, but they are talented as hell. Their understanding of melody is outstanding, and the choices match this song perfectly. Patrick regales us of tales of love and satisfaction in life and how it mixes with the later days of contention. Violin work takes the middle-eight as bass, drums, guitars, and keys shore up the back.
Patrick scores high with his tale of love, life and the way things go in life. Another excellent tune and a must have for country fans.
John Wayne Movies will be available for purchase at performances and through CDBaby.com, Apple iTunes and Amazon, as well as for streaming on Spotify and Pandora. Patrick maintains a website at michael-patrick.net, which includes tour dates, news, photos, video, and audio clips, and Facebook at facebook.com/michaelpatricksongs.