Penguin Eggs

Tuesday, 31 March 2020 15:17

Matt Patershuk

Written by Eric Rosenbaum
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If Wishes Were Horses (Black Hen Music)

If Wishes Were Horses is country/folk with a nice helping of rock and blues. Patershuk calls it a mixed bag and, indeed, he displays a range of musical influences, although country really is at its heart.
I don’t know about you but when there’s a song on a record called Ernest Tubb Had Fuzzy Slippers that’s the one you go for first. Here, Patershuk recounts the true story of the night the drunken country singer Tubb had a run-in with Nashville producer Jim Denny. The Opry pioneer took a shot at Denny with a .357 magnum. Spoiler alert: he missed.

Patershuk’s humour and straightforward storytelling reads like a scene from a movie with Nashville veteran Charlie McCoy on harmonica and album producer and guitar slinger Steve Dawson contributing the fitting soundtrack.
Patershuk isn’t from Nashville, he’s from Alberta, which is reflected in recurring images of working men, country bars, and horses, of course.  

A standout track on this North Americana collection is Alberta Waltz, a melancholy affair, a final turn on the dance floor at closing time: “Dancing’s for dreamers and lovers and fools. And it’s hard to be a dreamer when you just set down your tools.”

There are also a few surprises, including a cover of Jerry Garcia’s Sugaree and four short instrumentals, all variation of the same melody, adding to the cinematic nature of the album.

This is producer Dawson’s fourth collaboration with Patershuk. His gritty, rootsy production proves to be a strong foundation for Patershuk’s soulful lyrics and husky, whisky voice.   

Download the entire review section in Issue 85 here:

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