Canadian Matt Patershuk makes no apologies for his gruff demeanor. A hard-bitten troubadour of old school persuasion, he provides a series of songs that reflect an edgy yet earnest attitude that provides few concessions as far as a neat and tidy delivery is concerned. His is a sound that's both rugged and resilient, the sound of a man for whom defiance and determination are a foregone conclusion.
On the tellingly titled "Same As I Ever Have Been," Patershuk's lack of pretence is evident even at the outset. Opening track "Sometimes You've Got To Do Bad Things To Do Good" boasts a tenacious title and a swampy sound that evokes a mix of moody intrigue and tangled trappings. There's little concession to easy accessibility and no real attempt to make the listener to feel especially welcome. While the fleetingly mellow drift of "Memory and the First Law of Thermodynamics" provides a weary respite, Patershuk eschews any hope for happy endings. Like Waylon Jennings, Bobby Bare, Johnny Cash and other hard-bitten heroes with a similar sensibility, he exudes a decidedly dark persona inspired by some outlaw origins.
The bluster and boogie of "Cheap Guitar" aside, Patershuk taps into an old school sound that rarely makes the radio, but still sets the course for today's youthful blue collar insurgents. With a persona that typifies that new generation of angry outcasts. Patershuk provides middle ground between two generations, each proponents of hardcore country that have little regard from what radio deems commercially viable.
Patershuk boasts first rate back-up in producer/guitarist Steve Dawson, drummer Jay Bellerose and backing vocalist Ana Egge, all of whom possess a certain savvy that should help Patershuk succeed. Ultimately though, it's his independent spirit and ready resolve that makes him such a clear and credible contender.
Lee Zimmerman is a freelance writer based in Maryville, Tenn. He also expounds on music on his web site, Stories Beyond the Music - Americana Music Reviews, Interviews & Articles.