"Songs for regretful brutes and sentimental drunkards" reads the sign on the album sleeve but, although he writes about the tough breaks life deals out, Matt Patershuk is not a man to cry over spilt milk or demand our sympathy.
Rather, the Canadian singer songwriter's modus operandi is to tell it like it is and look for ways to overcome setbacks as best he can. The title of the opening track gives fair warning that he's not one to follow textbook advice, provocatively stating that Sometimes You've Got To Do Bad Things To Do Good.
Combining muddy blues tunes with country crooning, he aligns himself with working men (and, by extension, women too). His day job as a bridge builder gives him plenty of first hand insights which he delivers in a mellow, baritone voice.
Hot Knuckle Blues is an incongruously jaunty song told from the point of view of a man losing his job and feeling shame and loss of purpose. Atlas rewrites Greek mythology and warns "what happens to men who try to hold up the world".
The most personal song is Memory And The First Law Of Thermodynamics, a touching song about Patershuk's sister Clare who tragically lost her life when she was hit by a drunk driver.
The album was produced by veteran roots musician Steve Dawson at Bryan Adams’ Warehouse Studio and mostly recorded live in the studio with only a few overdubs. Three tunes, including the title track, feature elegant backing vocals from Ana Egge.
This album won't make Matt Patershuk famous but it is an impressive, and nicely varied, set of solid songs, solidly delivered.
Matt Patershuk's website