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Michael Patrick: Garden State Country

By Gary Wien

originally published: 10/24/2018

Michael Patrick: Garden State Country

Growing up in New Jersey doesn’t generally lend itself to becoming a country music artist. Michael Patrick took a bit of a winding road to get there, but he’s about as Americana as they come.  On his latest release, John Wayne Movies, Michael Patrick weaves country songs alongside rock and roll, folk and rockabilly tunes to create an excellent album that few would guess was born in the Garden State.

It’s been seven years since his last record - a period in which he suffered great personal loss within a two year period.  He lost his wife of 20 years to complications from Cooley’s Anemia in 2013. One year later, his father passed away.  Those losses are reflected in his lyrics.

Michael Patrick: Garden State Country“Songwriting became more personal to me,” explained Michael Patrick.  “I was less nervous about taking risks and just letting it out.  After I lost my wife, I lost my dad the next year.  It changes your perspective and your point of view that’s guarded - it’s a wall that’s not good if you’re going to be a songwriter.  The walls come down a little bit and you’re about to write more from the heart.  You write about what you’ve lived and experienced.  I’ve been through a lot - even before that.  It’s been a pretty full life.”

For years, Michael Patrick has been a mainstay of the New Jersey music scene with solo performances, his Suburban Hillbillies band, and Ring of Fire (his Johnny Cash tribute band).  But before those bands, he played bass in a Grateful Dead tribute band for 13 years.  He says that’s where his love of country music and bluegrass stems from.  It was around that period of time that he began listening to a wider range of music.  

When you hear him talk, he sounds like he’s playing a Johnny Cash character.  His voice is deep and doesn’t sound much like anybody from the Garden State.  He sounds like what you’d imagine a country artist to sound like, but he swears it wasn’t always like that.



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“When I listen back to the first CD and hear ‘Incomplete’ it sounds like I had a different accent back then!” he laughs.  “I think it’s subconsciously developed.  I don’t try to sound any different, but have been singing country songs all of these years… the cigarettes probably don’t help either.”

John Wayne Movies even contains a song that not only sounds like Johnny Cash singing, but sounds like a song Cash would have written.  The song is called “You’re Not Who I Thought You Were.”

 

“You don’t match the words that you said you made damn sure.. my ego was fed I bought into the lies now it ain’t no surprise that you’re not who I thought you were”

“You’re Not Who I Thought You Were”

“That kind of came from a dark place, I guess,” said Michael Patrick who performed everywhere from bars to performing arts centers and festivals with the Ring of Fire band.  That band was put together shortly before the Walk The Line film, which starred Joaquin Phoenix as the Man in Black.  “My band (Suburban Hillbillies) was doing a bunch of Cash tunes and I always felt like it fit my voice, so I said let’s try to put together a tribute.  It was the perfect timing with the film coming out.”

Many artists are unable to move between tribute bands or bands playing cover music to their own original songs, but it hasn’t been a problem for Michael Patrick.  He still gets people who have seen him on stage come up from time to time and say, “Hey Johnny Cash!” but he takes it as a compliment.  He continued to do his own original solo and band shows even when Ring of Fire was at their peak, and even managed to play some of his originals on the big stages.  One song, “Cash In The Attic,” always did well and led to many CD sales.

According to Michael Patrick, everyone that received an early copy of the album has named a different song as their favorite.  For me, it’s the title track which was written by Joe Iantosca - a touching song about a boy and his father accentuated by wistful slide guitar.

“Watching John Wayne Movies on rainy afternoons / His hero on the screen and mine here in this room / I thought he was everything a man could ever be

He was John Wayne to me”

—“John Wayne Movies”

Memories of a father appear in the wonderful track “Something To Fall Back On” as well. In this song, the narrator remembers how his father helped him buy his first guitar and taught him the message they stayed with him throughout his life — a message he would relay to his own son when he showed him  how to play his first chord.

You’re gonna need someway to pay the bills, something to eat, strummin that guitar wont be shoes on your feet, take those books and study hard, when the thrill is finally gone, you’ll have something to fall back on.

    “Something To Fall Back On”

Michael Patrick also shows he’s learned a thing or two over the years from John Eddie, one of the artists he lists as a inspiration.  He points to him as someone who uses energy on stage to turn concerts into a special show, but it’s clear he’s learned more than that.  From his very first album, John Eddie showed hints of a country artist lying within but it took a few albums for that songwriter to fully shine through. Even when it did, he never lost his rock and roll fans.  That’s what Michael Patrick is trying to do as well.  Each of his albums has a few songs that lean more towards the rock and roll side, but he hopes to see country and rock fans in the audience. 

“I listen to a lot of different styles of music,” explained Michael Patrick.  “The kind of music I like isn’t locked in to one type.  I think that’s where Americana kind of encompasses all of that from the roots rock stuff to rockabilly. I think the tunes on this album kind of cross different barriers, but they’re not so far off that people wouldn’t be able to relate to them.  With this album… I don’t want to say I wrote it specifically with live performances in mind, but it played a part in it.  Thinking about my last CD, it’s like you could sit and listen to it but there wasn’t a whole lot of energy to do it live.  So I thought I’d take a different approach and be able to do a few more rockers live that will keep the energy going.”

Many of the artists Michael Patrick considers inspirations are ones who were able to transcend normal music categories and develop diverse audiences.  Johnny Cash is famous for being regularly covered by punk rockers as much as country artists.  Lyle Lovett and John Prine are two other main inspirations who both found mainstream audiences outside of their main musical genres.  

In the end, it all comes down to the stories found in the lyrics.  That’s what led Michael Patrick to the songs from his favorite artists and stories are what keeps people coming back to Michael Patrick songs.  Seven years since his last recording, Michael Patrick has emerged as a more mature songwriter.  He’s gone through an extremely difficult decade and his pain, heartbreak, and life experiences clearly show on this release, but there are plenty of fun and upbeat songs as well. It’s easily his best release to date.

The characters in his songs are living life, fighting through relationship problems, reminiscing about their childhood.  There are fun songs, sad songs, and hopeful songs.  One of my favorites is “When I Grow Up” - a bit of a rocker that is a tale many can relate to.  In it, he may be looking back, but he’s also hopeful for the future.

 

“Look in the mirror still don’t know who I see / I know for sure it’s not who I used to be / I’m gettin older but my heart’s still young and free

well I ....count all my blessings and I say amen / my mind goes back to all those childhood friends (we’d say) / When I grow up I wanna... be a kid again”

—“When I Grow Up”

Michael Patrick's band includes Bobby Donofrio (guitar), Mike Noordsy (Bass), Mike Heady (drums), and Elaine Orzechowski (keyboards). 



Upcoming shows:

November 24 @ 8:00pm Lighthouse Tavern, Waretown

November 29 @ 8:00pm Clancy’s Tavern, Neptune

December 8 @ 10:00pm Albert Music Hall, Waretown







For more by this author, click here



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(TEANECK, NJ) -- On Saturday, December 8th, singer-songwriter and recording artist, Jann Klose will perform at Ethical Brew on behalf of Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center, a community arts and cultural center for children and teens located in Bronx, New York.  Doors open at 7:30, show begins at 8:00pm.
Kenny Chesney To Perform At Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
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Jazz Saxophonist Don Braden LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s a breezy day for a new installment of the Jazz On a Sunday Afternoon concert series at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Sunday Oct. 27, 2018 afternoon. Today’s special 3pm performance is entitled Earth, Wind and Wonder and is presented by jazz saxophonist Don Braden.
Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge LIVE! at The Strand, Lakewood
The stars are out this Saturday Oct. 26, 2018 evening in Lakewood, NJ for a “Golden Oldies” concert featuring Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge!
PODCAST: Grammy Winner Terri Lyne Carrington At TD James Moody Jazz Festival
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Upcoming Events

Jann Klose and The Voice's Josett Diaz To Perform At Ethical Brew To Benefit A Cause Close To Home

Jann Klose and The Voice's Josett Diaz To Perform At Ethical Brew To Benefit A Cause Close To Home

(TEANECK, NJ) -- On Saturday, December 8th, singer-songwriter and recording artist, Jann Klose will perform at Ethical Brew on behalf of Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center, a community arts and cultural center for children and teens located in Bronx, New York.  Doors open at 7:30, show begins at 8:00pm.


Kenny Chesney To Perform At Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Kenny Chesney To Perform At Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) -- Focusing on smaller venues and markets not directly impacted by his massive stadium tours, Kenny Chesney sought to make his Songs for the Saints 2019 Tour mirror the intimacy of its namesake album. Inspired by the resilience of the people around him, Chesney doubles down on the human connection for his 2019 tour by seeking those members of No Shoes Nation who have spent the past decade and a half making the trip to stadium markets for what is now a summer tradition. On Saturday, May 11, 2019 he brings the tour to Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena in Atlantic City, NJ.


State Theatre New Jersey presents  Cirque Dreams Holidaze

State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze on Friday, December 7 at 8:00pm, Saturday, December 8 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sunday, December 9 at 2:00pm. Cirque Dreams Holidaze, a division of Cirque du Soleil, has become a critically acclaimed, state-of-the-art Broadway musical, and a fun-filled, holiday family show. Tickets range from $35-$98.


NJSO presents 2019 Winter Festival, 'Music Speaks'

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(NEWARK, NJ) -- A trio of renowned guest artists with distinct musical voices—pianists Emanuel Ax and Daniil Trifonov and soprano Dawn Upshaw—headline the NJSO’s Winter Festival, “Music Speaks,” in January 2019. The Orchestra’s signature artistic event takes place across three weekends, January 10–27, in six New Jersey venues.








Event calendar
Sunday, Nov 18, 2018


MUSIC

Allen Stone @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

IN MEMORY OF BOB COLYARD @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 11:00am

Gypsy Jazz Brunch with Pyrenesia and Max Hansen Buffet @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

Dorthaan's Place: Eric Alexander Quartet @ NICO KITCHEN + BAR @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 11:00am and 1:00pm

Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition: SASSY Awards @ Victoria Theater @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 3:00pm

Rachel Barton Pine plays Paganini @ Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, Princeton - 4:00pm

Max Weinberg’s Jukebox @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 7:00pm

Bolshoi Ballet: La Sylphide @ Pollak Theatre @ Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 3:00pm







THEATRE

Annie @ Broad Street United Methodist Church, Burlington - 2:00pm

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm

Annie @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 3:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 2:00pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 3:00pm

Billy Bishop Goes to War @ Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown - 2:00pm

ELF THE MUSICAL @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 7:00pm

Pinocchio @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 3:00pm

Kiss Me Kate @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm

Phoenix Productions Presents: The Hunchback of Notre Dame @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 3:00pm

Heathers, The Musical High School Edition @ Pebble Players, Oakes Center, Summit - 2:00pm

Junie B. Jones The Musical at Black Box PAC @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 11:00am

The Drowsy Chaperone @ Lauren K. Woods Theatre at Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 3:00pm


DANCE

JCTC Dance: Up Close & Personal @ White Eagle Hall, Jersey City - 4:00pm

NJDTE "The Nutcracker" Storytime & Performance @ New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble, Summit - 4:00pm


KIDS

THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 1:00pm

ROALD DAHL’S WILLY WONKA JR. @ Ridgewood Ave School Theater, Glen Ridge - 1:00pm


LECTURE

Mainebiz Health Care Forum @ 10th Ave. Burrito, Red Bank - 10:30am

View all events










 






















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