Date: 01/10/2014 Print This Post

Contact: Steve Levesque, Chrissy Sutphin
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The Maryland-Based Roots Rocker, Whose Debut Album
“Blue Sun” Received Airplay on Over 50 College and NPR
Stations Throughout the U.S. and Europe, Continues
his Unique Creative Collaboration Digitally Across
the Atlantic with Andrew Diamond,
A Longtime Friend Now Based in Zambia

Sharing the straight, unapologetic truth about who he is as a person and artist, Matthew Patrick ( speaks for all struggling indie artists with a day job on “The Fool I’ve Got To Be,” a quirky, country flavored tune on his new five-track EP Yard Sale.

Over a rumbling beat, lively piano and jangly guitars, the Maryland-based singer/songwriter sings: “I’ve got one straight job and I’m damn sure gonna keep it/Sometimes things don’t seem so clear to me/In the morning I’ll sure wish that I was sleeping/But tonight I’ll be the fool I’ve got to be.”

That grand “foolishness” is starting to pay off for Patrick, who launched his career in college as a roots rocker in the band 32-20, which released two popular indie albums and opened for numerous blues and classic rock acts.

While still playing regularly with his electric blues outfit Muskrat Sally before wildly eclectic audiences at JoJo’s Tap House in his adopted hometown of Frederick, the anesthesiologist by day, singer and slide guitar master by night has been making major inroads as a solo artist. His 2013 full-length debut album Blue Sun, whose vibe Patrick playfully described as “redneck reggae,” received numerous rave reviews – and various tracks from the collection played on over 50 college radio and NPR stations throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Patrick’s “Memphis meets Kingston” flavored debut was produced by Jack O’Hara, lead singer of the ‘70s country rock band Eggs Over Easy. While the opening track “Fly” is in that same vein, the singer shares a wider variety of his influences and musical passions on Yard Sale, which he produced with Ben Fraker, an old bandmate from 32-20; the five tracks were mixed by Joe Digiorgi of Headline Studios in NYC.

Patrick is releasing Yard Sale in January and will be releasing a follow-up EP, its “sequel,” in May. Yard Sale will be promoted to Triple AAA radio by Peter Hay of Twin Vision.

Patrick grew up addicted to his parents’ Elvis and Beatles albums, and became a huge fan of blues legend Muddy Waters, whom he discovered via The Rolling Stones. He shares his lifelong love of the blues on the straight blues tune “Howl at the Moon” and the psychedelic blues of “One Ride.” He mixes blues, Americana roots rock and a touch of the reggae vibe on a cover of the public domain folk song “Midnight Special,” which dates to the early 1900s and was notably recorded by Lead Belly and later everyone from The Beatles and Van Morrison to Bobby Darin.

“Midnight Special’ is a song I have been performing live for a long time, and its history as a Southern prison songs fits in well with the theme of escaping that comes through in all of the songs on Yard Sale,” says Patrick. “Running with the escape theme creates a catharsis for me, and it is metaphoric for the way music provides me an outlet from the responsibilities of my day job and family life. By helping me escape, music allows me to dig deep and find my truest self.”

Like Blue Sun, Yard Sale is the product of a fascinating and unexpected collaboration with a dreadlocked multi-instrumentalist (drums, keyboards, guitar) named Andrew Diamond. Diamond, who lived in a suburb of DC when the two worked on Blue Sun, now lives, performs and makes music in his studio in Zambia, Africa. Diamond created the foundation of each track with a rough vocal, guitar and click track, which he would send digitally across the Pond to Diamond, who created all the rhythm parts – this time including grooves created by a funky Zambian bass player named David Kasochi.

“Andrew was the one responsible for introducing the reggae vibe on Blue Sun,” says Patrick, “but this time, we mixed it up a little more and didn’t try to fit obvious country type songs like ‘The Fool I’ve Got To Be’ into that style.” Once the singer received the rhythm tracks, he recorded his lead guitars, lead and background vocals and added the sweetening of other instruments like harmonica.

Patrick hooked up with Diamond, a long ago bandmate, a few years ago in a fascinating, almost surreal way.

Usually when musicians talk about dreams, they mean the kind that fuel ambition—and Patrick had plenty of that in the years before he recorded Blue Sun. Settling in Maryland after a whirlwind life that took him from Poughkeepsie to Palo Alto, Williamtown (MA) and Seattle, the multi-talented singer/songwriter launched his latest band, Muskrat Sally, as an acoustic blues outfit before switching to electric and tearing it up playing everything from Robert Johnson to Wilson Pickett.

One day, he had the other kind of dream, a subconscious visitation from his old friend that changed his musical fortunes and led to the unexpected creation of the first album. Patrick woke up with a vivid picture in his head of Andrew Seidel, who he hadn’t seen since their high school jazz band days in California. He decided to Google Seidel, who—most serendipitously—was living only 45 minutes away in Hyattsville, where he had a recording studio. Seidel had also recently released a reggae CD under the name “Andrew Diamond.”

“I was in the process of putting together new songs for my next project,” says Patrick, “and as a few of them were in the reggae vein, I looked him up. We re-connected, and Andrew took my scratch vocal and acoustic guitar tracks, hooked me up with a Jamaican bassist named Lyndon ‘Ace’ Webb, and knocked them out of the park. They sounded so good that I took all of the other tracks I had been toying with and decided to follow the same path on those. It was really fun to take songs that I had originally conceived as country songs or New Orleans tunes and to see how Andrew and Ace would translate them. I have always loved music that crossed racial and social boundaries, from Chuck Berry playing straight up country on ‘Maybellene’ to Elvis playing Arthur Crudup’s ‘That’s Alright Mama,’ and the blues/rock/reggae hybrid we created fit right into that concept.”

Working with longtime friend and producer O’Hara, Patrick then laid down his own sharp guitar licks onto a colorful sonic landscape which included exciting contributions from organist Brian Mitchell (Levon Helm Band), Fraker (who played in a wicked “honky tonk” style via Telecaster), harpist Brian Veditz (of Muskrat Sally) and harmonica player David Barnes.

The songs from Blue Sun that received extensive radio airplay include “Ramblin’ Rose,” the classic styled bar tune “Drunk,” and “Dog,” which the singer feels perfectly captured the album’s multi-cultural musical synthesis.

Yard Sale is a continuation of the journey of that first album,” he says, “but it’s more indicative of a wider palette of the many kinds of music I love. The title is a strong metaphor for what I believe any recording should be about. A collection of an artist’s songs reminds me of what you find at a yard sale. You walk by and see laying on someone’s lawn all these intimate parts of someone’s life over a number of years. Individually, each item may not have a deep meaning, but collectively they have been part of that person’s home and life. Likewise, each song represents a part of me, and taken together, the EP really reflects the journey I have been on that I now have the privilege of sharing with these songs.”