Saturday, June 9, 2012

Patrick Dodd Trio - Future Blues EP


Businessmen from Iceland walk into a Beale Street bar and listen to the band.  They like the lead singer/guitar player’s music and style so much they make the musician an offer he can’t refuse - “Write us a song called Future Blues and perform it for us so that it can become our official company song.  In exchange, we will pay for you to make a record.”

Sounds like the beginning of a joke that is just missing a rabbi, priest and punchline, doesn’t it?  I mean, what are the chances businessmen from Iceland show up in New Orleans to offer a recording contract to a club guitar player and band in exchange for a song and warble?  Yet, that is apparently what happened to Patrick Dodd.  It is the story of the genesis of the Patrick Dodd Trio and its E/P Future Blues.

Dodd took the Icelandic businessmen up on their offer and he and the other members of the Patrick Dodd Trio - Harry Peel, drums and percussion; and Landon Moore, bassist - called upon Cody Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars fame to play piano, add percussion and produce the record.  Also, in came Deborah Swiney and Carolyn Chatman to provide backup vocals. With the help of the Memphis Music Foundation and Dodd’s superior guitar playing and songwriting ability, the record gelled.  The Icelandic businessmens’ requested composition, Future Blues, became the first track on, and the name of, the E/P. 

You can feel the imprint of Cody Dickinson and Studio Tech Kevin Houston of Memphis-based Archer’s Music + Art Studios on this recording.  The Patrick Dodd Trio burns it up on every track.  Most of the E/P was recorded live then brought to the studio. It is inspired, powerful, soulful, hard rock modern blues on par with the best of modern rock blues artists like Mike Zito, Heavy Glow and Heavy Manic Souls.

The E/P consists of seven tracks - Future Blues, the song written for the Icelandic businessmen, is a hard driving rage led by Dodd’s grizzly, throaty vocals and guitar; - Into The Fire, another heavy story song, highlights Dodd’s lyrics and contains a segue into a scratchy guitar solo; - Testify is a blues-based arpeggio piece with Dodd exhorting you to “testify” about “how much you got to lose”; - Evil Way is a swing blues with a walking bass in which Dodd tells us he is in “an evil way” in this “you did me wrong baby” song; - I’ve Got To Run Away is an up and down and out rocker about having to run away; - Ain’t This Livin provides a kick-back, hard-edged reflection on the human condition; and  - Restless Soul, a gospel-inspired slow ballad that, according to the liner notes, is for Judy Jackson who Dodd calls “one of the greatest friends who left us all too soon.” 

This album is all Patrick Dodd.  His voice and guitar shine.  They are so enthralling you tend to lose sight of Dodd as a great songwriter.  A good song will elicit an emotional response from the listener.  There is no doubt that each one of Dodd’s compositions does just that.

Dodd claims he never imagined he’d be playing music for a living and that drummer Peel, just off heart surgery, never envisioned getting back into touring and recording.  Yet those Icelandic businessmen rightly heard something in this band and gave them a chance.  I’ve got a feeling that Dodd and his backers will make a bundle of króna off of this one. 

- Old School

Future Blues

I’ve Got To Run Away

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