23 May 2023
Patterson Barrett is a legendary musician who has called Austin, Texas home for nearly five decades. He arrived fresh from playing on Jerry Jeff Walker’s self-titled debut and quickly connected with (soon-to-be legends) Buddy and Julie Miller. Together, they formed the band Partners In Crime. In the ensuing years he has worked with artists like Hank Ketchum, Chuck Berry, Nanci Griffith and Jim Lauderdale, just to name a few.
In between high profile gigs, he has made several solo albums, his latest is “I Just Can’t Call It Quits.” The record crackles to life with the title-track. Part self-deprecating Texas Two-Step, part Honky-Tonk lament, meandering pedal steel, wily bass lines and chunky guitar riffs are tethered to a galloping gait. The best tracks here include the shadowy “Longing For The Sun.” See-sawing guitars, warm keys and tensile bass lines can’t sugarcoat reality; “I’m as blue as you say, made darker by you, I can’t be saved by the things you do.”
Then there’s the painterly heft of “Who’s Left To Keep The World Turning.” Rippling mandolin, whistly keys andmlonesome pedal steel coalesce around lyrics that search for common ground in a divisive climate; “Six feet under, six feet apart, will we stand together, when can we start? Start to realize that we all share the same heart, and we’re all breathing the same air.”
Meanwhile, Patterson is joined by Buddy Miller on Buddy’s tender original, “I’m Pretending.” A winsome Country weeper, it features high lonesome pedal steel, lachrymose fiddle, liquid electric arpeggios and a snap-back beat. Patterson and Buddy’s fraternal harmonies dovetail with Louvin-esque synchronicity on this tale of love gone wrong. A couple other covers dot the record. A rambling rendition of Juliann Banks’ “Somewhere In South Austin,” and a Countrified take on Sam & Dave’s classic, “Soul Man” that leans closer to the laid-back charms of Eric Clapton’s “Lay Down Sally.”
Other interesting tracks include the honey and wood smoke of “Where Do We Go,” and the spicy Cajun flavor of “Another Beautiful Day.” The record closes with the intimate carpe diem, “Just A Moment.”
Eleni P. Austin - I was born into a large, loud Greek family and spent my formative years in the Los Angeles enclaves of Laurel Canyon and Los Feliz. My mother moved us to the Palm Springs area just in time for puberty and Disco. I have spent over 40 years working in record stores, starting back in High School.
I wrote music reviews for the Desert Sun from 1983 to 1988. I began doing the same for the Coachella Valley Weekly in 2012.
I live in Palm Springs with my wife and our amazing dog, Denver.