Patrick Bloom “Ghosts Of Radio” (MudDauber Records, 2009)
Patrick Bloom is an unusual artist in that he sounds like few others, as he treads the Americana line without leaning heavily towards any one particular style —whether rock, folk, country or blues. He never wavers from centre ground.
Living in the Americana mid-west, Patrick Bloom apart from being a fine songwriter as demonstrated through a couple of previous solo albums —the critically acclaimed Moses (2008) and (Songs From) The Pink Sofa the former member of the band, The Letterpress Opry (later to become The Mayflies of who’s songs he still contributes a sizable share) has also worked as a producer and studio engineer over the years with an impressive range of acts. Namely, Greg Brown, Bo Ramsey, Iris DeMent, Ben Weaver, Dave Moore, Pieta Brown, Tony Furtado and Sally Van Meter among others.
On the songs ‘Prophetstown’ and ‘Rosalie’ his vocal style is reminiscent of Belfast boy, Bap Kennedy as he edges along in a contemporary fashion —good he is too. With his roots spread across from the housing projects of East Los Angeles to his current Iowa home by way of the working class of Long Island’s Southern shore Bloom projects a gritty, street-wise awareness. As illustrated on the finely penned, lazy styled ‘Minnesota’ that possesses a pained longing. While ‘Union Suit’ is quite meaty as it speaks of the old days and, ‘Red Dodge Dart’ featuring a solid, productive brass section like the former strikes home in a strong, engaging roots etched manner.
On stepping back and reflecting on life, Bloom ushers the listener along memory lane on ‘Sycamore Tree’ in a mellow fashion that, though quite different from the majority of tracks it still contains a fascination and much beauty as it winds itself safely way home.
‘Idle Sings Of Summer’ is a jangling piece with a summery feel, ideal to have in the car on a long journey. Such the happy lilt it contains. ‘Oh My Soul’ offers a more left-of-centre lyrical content and, with piano, organ and lead guitar to the fore it possesses a New Orleans-ish feel.
‘Baltimore’ that closes the album finds Bloom in a sombre, story-telling mode as he shuffles along to the accompaniment of piano, organ and lead guitar etc in a reflective mood. ‘Oh My Soul’ has a r&b feel that fits perfectly into the mix as the multi-talented Bloom (he plays acoustic guitar on all the songs) shows himself to be a true all-rounder, and could with a little luck be set to emulate the likes of Ray LaMontagne. Chances are he could well already be a better live act! What a good album for me to more or less end the year reviewing.
Date review added: Monday, December 21, 2009
Reviewer: Maurice Hope
Related web link: http://www.patrickbloom.com