Feb. 27, 2013 - Issue #906: Tegan and Sara - Pop goes their world
At the centre of Outside the Lights of Town, the debut full-length album from singer-songwriter Matt Patershuk, is a strong sense of place, with each song unfolding to share a new story starring the people and places of the rural prairies.
Patershuk's rich baritone drives tales of love gone astray, the struggles of one-industry towns and the working man trying to provide for those he loves, taking listeners through a litany of experiences and perspectives.
"They're like the song equivalent of short stories, just little clips of people I've known and experiences I've had or people have told me about," says Patershuk, who is self-taught musically. "They're people I like and admire ... even if the places, even if they're in some cases awkward or tragic, it's because I like those characters and I like those places."
Patershuk nearly let stage fright stop him from sharing his music, pursuing a degree in forestry from the University of Alberta instead of life as a musician. He still works a day job, but after getting a "kick in the pants," as he puts it, and taking small steps playing a good friend's wedding and lending his talents to another's filmmaking endeavours, he stepped onstage at his first professional gig just over a year ago for a community fundraiser—sandwiched on the bill between a belly dancer and a lingerie fashion show. Still, a gig's a gig and it was a step in the right direction.
"I tried to prepare to the point where I was fairly confident that I could at least try to pull something off and then just lots of practice ... it's getting easier. It's still kind of nerve-wracking, but I definitely do love and enjoy it now," he says. "I've done sort of anything and everything I can over the last while. I've played for kids sweeping rodeo stands by themselves and I'm happy if even one person's listening and interested in what I'm doing."
One of the people who's been listening is Juno Award-winner Steve Dawson, who produced Patershuk's album. The trip to Vancouver to record with Dawson was a significant learning experience for Patershuk, marking his first time in a professional studio and working with a team of backing musicians.
"You could go in there and sing out the phone book and he'd make you sound good," Patershuk laughs, adding the experience was a crash course in music and recording. "I think the reason it worked out fairly well was the way we all worked together, and they're a bunch of nice people, so that helps. I think if you went in there and felt a bunch of pressure and were uncomfortable, I know for me it would fall apart pretty quickly."
Sat, Mar 2 (7 pm)
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