Jim Patton & Sherry Brokus
Going the Distance
Classic American Folk Music With a Twist of Americana and a Splash of Country Too.
This is one of those albums that sits on the desk for ages; never getting moved to the ‘Charity Box’ but never actually getting enough time on the player to get a review … until today.
I’m embarrassed to tell you that the ‘difference’ this morning was that; over a cup of coffee I actually read the sleeve notes and saw that one of my ‘heroes’ Bill Kirchen, plays geetar on three tracks, fiddle player Warren Hood and the ever wonderful BettySoo appear throughout, with the latter providing subtly angelic harmonies.
In my defence; this album errs on the side of Folk, with Americana going on in the background; starting with the title track Going The Distance; a song using ‘life on the road as a musician’ as a metaphor for life itself; and eventually the penny dropped …. giving me the urge to carry on listening and taking notes.
Jim Patton, with his breathy, ‘lived in’ singing style takes lead with Shirley Brokus providing shadowy harmonies; in the way Emmylou made famous alongside Gram.
Now I’ve taken the time to ‘listen properly’, Patton’s writing is very introspective and coupled to their simple, yet emotional melodies make for some rather excellent songs; leading us into Janey It’s Alright, Facing The Lions and especially the most commercial song here, I’m Still a Dreaming Man; which will stand the test of time I’m sure.
The Press Release namechecks a couple of the founding fathers of American Folk Music as links to the couples ‘style’ but personally I think fans of Tom Paxton, Tom Rush and Jimmie Dale Gilmore will find a lot to like here; especially Golden Boy and Words I Can’t Unsay, which you could easily imagine any of those three adding to a set list.
There’s a fabulous song here called Gino; an acoustic Country song about a 53 year old man looking back on a life of ‘perceived failure’ in a way that screams ‘River era Springsteen,’ yes … you read correctly; and it just might be the best Springsteen song that Bruce never wrote.
Patton cites 20th century American fiction (“from Fitzgerald and Hemingway and Faulkner to Kerouac and Salinger and Raymond Chandler”) as inspiration in his writing style and for subject matter; the various lives of the friends he grew up and that comes across in both That’s What I Do and the rawly honest Facing The Lions about growing older, but not necessarily wiser with age.
Of the duo’s friends here, the name Bill Kirchen was the first to jump out at me and he really and truly adds an extra ‘edge’ with his stinging Telecaster on Austin Night; an autobiographical song about proving the naysayers from his younger days wrong; as he’s
“Still making music on an Austin night!“
As that’s probably the most commercial song here; I suppose it should be my Favourite Track here; but Bil makes an appearance on Brand New Love; which is simply bedazzling and will appeal to youngsters and oldie’s alike if or when they themselves are starting out on a new Brand New Love.
Somehow my ‘second sight’ told me to keep this album for when the time was right; and that came in the last 48 hours ….. and the wait was well worth it.
BUY DON’T SPOTIFY