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CD Review: JPAT - "Smile Goodbye To The Kings & Clowns"

By Gary Wien

JPAT is no longer a man of mystery, he's settled into the blues musician his voice has always beckoned him to be. Shortly before hopping on a plane to China, he recorded his first full-length CD of original blues tunes. The disc was recorded raw - usually in just a take or two - with just JPAT strumming guitar, blowing on his harp, and howling in the way nobody in Jersey has ever howled since Southside Johnny first hit the scene.

The seven tracks on the disc entitled, "Smile Goodbye To The Kings & Clowns" will bring you back to the golden age of blues, a period where the music was recorded simply as it was played. This, to me, is the way the blues should always sound. Raw.

JPAT weaves his way through an album that starts off with him calling his girl to "come back to the Jersey Shore" and then zigs and zags through a set which shows a new range of lyrical maturity in his lyrics. His words seem better, surer in themselves, in the blues form. JPAT has a knack for writing great chorus hooks and this record has several of them.

It may have taken him a long time to find his calling, but he's making up for lost time now. Before leaving for his two-month residency in a China bar, he was one of two bands to win the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Association's Battle of the Bands competition. His prize? He now gets to fly directly from China to Tennessee to play and help represent the JSJBF at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. He's literally hitchhiking across the world thanks to a voice that comes around once in a very long while. Thankfully, he's finally started to listen to what his voice has been saying all along.

Stand-out tracks include "The Dancer," "Come Back To The Jersey Shore", and "I Believe."

Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at gary@newjerseystage.com.

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originally published: 12/01/2004



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