The first thing you should know is that Patrick Porter lives & breathes it, whatever ‘it’ is. Artist, musician, poet, novelist, he’s certainly ran the creative gamut & still continues to be one prolific ‘ess oh bee.’ Liner notes to outline where he’s been aren’t necessary on “Bachelor Pad Blue” though, this whacked out chap from the Rockies of Colorado will give you a low down of the recording credits in an opening salvo of Captain Beefheart styled ramblings while bounding off into an adventure of tripped out country n’ roll.
As an out of towner venturing into a strange sawdust floored bar in the US of A, Patrick Porter may be the character that you least hope approaches you, the kind of shuffling loony tune you’d usually avoid with his glazy eyes & non-sensical mutterings that while they may be confusing & somewhat unsettling on first listen should never be discarded as the random mumbling of a crazy person, in fact maybe everyone else is crazy & this is just Porter’s cathartic way of dealing with us all. Either way he’s out there on his own, waaaay out there. And then there’s the Patrick Porter you could well see the very next day performing in the same bar but this time with a sharp line in blues playing & husky vocal that could cause more damage to the ice caps than global warming. Needless to say, he’s an intriguing character as anyone who’s seen footage of his many varied performances online will testify & his music aptly reflects this. For a man who is known to burst into tears while listening to John Denver records whilst also having a soft spot for gangsta rap, there’s more than a few sides to this coin so it’s well worth a spin to see which one you land with as Porter (who drops records for fun) delivers this his 16th release in eight years bustling with no less than twenty tracks that meander through musings of a less melancholic sounding but just as intoxicating Tom Waits before switching to more traditional songwriter styles. There’s also a definite blues influence to the open way Porter displays himself in his songs, most notable on “Hard To Keep My Halo On” with it’s slidey psychedelic wave to the delta & lyrically for all the metaphorical obscurities throughout there’s just as much plain speaking & honesty on show, some of which are best laid out in “No One’s Ever Gonna Love Me” & you just wanna give the big hairy oddball a hug.
Certain writing styles prevail on the new record; angsty lyrical content such as wanting to ‘…kill the girl with the big frowny face’ get the trippy & sometimes downright bizarre treatment that adds to the lunacy factor while more personal heartfelt laments are delivered with a stripped down sincerity & minimal embellishments which is where Porter really shines. Behind all the gruff eccentricities there’s a fragile vulnerability that just begs you to listen, couple that with a rawness in production it makes me think that seeing him in the live environment would be an as intimate & captivating experience as one man with a busted up guitar could possibly muster. One reoccurring theme seems to be coming to terms with isolation & the alienation that follows it; “Zero Hole” has Porter cracking over a repetitive line of “… I got no where to go” while “Fogelburg” points directly to feeling like the odd one out & the album closer “Hoolahoop Moon” with it’s ghostly solo keys drifts awkwardly into obscure guitar leads & fades out to the repeated refrain of “… lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely.” The quick picking & falsetto vocal on “Too Busy Digging A Grave” backed with harmonious piano playing also sound like a cry for help but this time with a defiant twist to it’s self pity.
Like I said, Patrick Porter lives & breathes it, the kind of real deal that makes Seasick Steve look like the affluent bloke in the penthouse that he’s become. “National Spinster” epitomizes the genuine delicate nature that so few can pull off so nonchalantly because it truly is there in front of you while “Lizzy Turtle Laylo” is a warts n’ all performance that practically demands silence as it sounds as though it could suddenly shatter into pieces if anyone spoke in the same airspace as it plays out. “Bachelor Pad Blue” may not be the easiest of records to get into, in fact at times it’s an uncomfortable listen that may deliberately require a bit of work but stick with it & you’ll be pleasantly rewarded not least for the simply brilliant “K Counts Her Cups” where you can almost hear the late night / early morning breeze on the recording trying to not disturb your slumber as it brushes through leaves outside your window. So to Patrick Porter then; the crazy, mixed up, lonely, artist, poet, writer, country gent, troubadour, bluesman, walking experimental paradox of a man & his crazy, mixed up, lonely, artistic, experimental paradox of an album.
Download Album: From Bandcamp.