If all it took was a handful of good songs, the ability to finesse beautiful melodies from an old flat top guitar and an honest rough and true voice to make it in the music business, Alberta roots songwriter Matt Patershuk would be a star many times over. His music has a rare quality that allows his songs to weave into the fabric of the experiences of everyone who hears them. Matt’s a guy who writes songs that are so good, so worn down and lived in that the first time you hear one of them, you get the feeling that you already know it, that it got you through some hard times, and that you’ve lived with it for all of your life. Each word he sings is as real and true as the ground we’re standing on and as welcome as spring wind over the prairie. With his third album, Same As I Ever Have Been coming October 13, 2017 on Black Hen Music, this Canadian roots songwriter and resident in the tiny hamlet of La Glace in Northern Alberta is poised to breakout as a new voice in Americana.
In many ways, Matt Patershuk’s music is a study in contrasts. As rough and loose as his songs may sound on first listen, it’s obvious that a lot of thought has gone into every lyric and riff he shares. Matt’s not an ivory tower thinker or dilettante; the demands imposed by the land and horses of his rural property, and his day job as a bridge builder assure that he’s never too far away from the concerns of the everyday world. Like a young John Prine, who used to write songs in his head while delivering the mail, you get the feeling that every true story and tall tale Patershuk comes across finds its way into his songs. How many contractors do you know who write lines like “physicists say folks don’t go away/that all things continue to be/that all of you floats about in the blue, you’re just less orderly” as he does in ‘Memory And The First Law Of Thermodynamics’, a heartbreaking song that recalls his sister Clare who lost her life when she was hit by a drunk driver a few years ago?
‘Same As I Ever Have Been’ is Patershuk’s most organic and confident collection of songs yet. With veteran roots musician Steve Dawson returning to produce and contribute some tasteful string work, it’s easy to hear how much Matt has grown as a performer since his last record, I Was So Fond Of You came out in early 2016. Like all of Dawson’s productions, Matt’s new songs were recorded with all of the musicians playing together in the same room. This created an intimate vibe that allowed the musicians to play off of one another to create some truly magical and unanticipated moments. Patershuk and Dawson decided to enlist the skills of legendary drummer Jay Bellerose (a frequent collaborator of T-Bone Burnett and Joe Henry), and with the help of regular Dawson collaborators such as John Reischman (mandolin), Ana Egge (vocals), Chris Gestrin (keyboards), and Jeremy Holmes (bass), the sessions were creative and spontaneous, with only a few judicious overdubs added after the fact. Every song on ‘Same As I Ever Have Been’ resonates with a warm roadhouse, barn dance feel that can’t be faked. Listen to the album, go out and hear him live at a small venue while you can. He’s not going to stay one of Canadian music’s best kept secrets for much longer.