Song by song review of "Blue Room" - Frank Patrouch by Chris J. Smith
Back from Memphis:
Sweet soul food for the heart and soul. Bluesy and descriptive; totally appeals to the tastebuds. “Blues & BBQ” for the win!
In one word: Nostalgic. A story that rolls gracefully along, similar to a Celtic poem perhaps. It successfully rewards the listener with a joyous feeling of security and abundance.
This one had me in stitches.. the second verse especially. Had to pull the car over to regroup the first time I heard it. Impressive songwriting and lyrical prowess with the perfect dose of dark humor. Theres really no place like home.
A charming tale of persistence and tolerance. It takes me to a barnside sipping the fine, amber stuff. Really elegant arrangement and tasteful guitar licks to boot. Classic drinking song.
I Wanna Be Your Man:
Really resonating with the simplicity of this one lately. Excellently arranged and tugs on the listeners heart strings just so. We can all relate to wanting to be good enough for our other, especially when they truly are morally superior to us in many ways. This one tells the story of a gentle yet firm proclamation declaring we are up to the task of commitment; that our love cannot and will not be dismissed further. “Don’t call the cops oh cmon blue, made up my mind and I want you, hey hey where you running to?” plainly speaking, “I wanna be your man”.
Dripping with nostalgia of a girl that once was. Every album needs at least one song titled with a female’s name, and you have dutifully conjured two! I find myself bouncing, even in the absence of any real percussion, possibly due to the rhythmic articulation of the acoustic instruments providing sortve a bluegrass-like backbeat. It has all the makings of a folk sing-a-long. The accordion faintly wheezing away in the background, mandolin regally chomping and tremolo-ing us to the edges of our imagination. No instrument ever sounds forced or out of place. Wonderfully composed and giant props to all players on this one.
A subtle hint of defeat and mistreatment. Wallowing a bit in mistakes while gradually owning up to the wrong doings over the years. Lyricism is on point here and honestly nearly brought a tear to the eye. It feels like I’m being carried on a light breeze the whole time, partially due to the mandolin I think. Overall, just a terrific song with a great message from start to finish. By the end it feels like we’ve each landed on individual revelations of the heart. “I eased into your shelter, but never called it home” is such an amazing lyric. Personal and unique. Great job all around.
The second female enters. I get South American or maybe Spanish vibes from this one, possibly due to the classical guitar strumming sweetly in the distance, or the samba-like beat with timbales. In contrast to the smooth strings, I hear the authority and defiance of this person with her bible and rules. This is conveyed not only by the uttering of her subjectively interesting name, but from the way it’s humbly asked “who can save ya?” Perhaps this individual is not accepting of help, be it a lift to the bus stop or a “midtown luxury suite”. Where do we rank with this stubborn lady of liberty who never suffers fools? From the sounds of it, if we’re involved in the favor whatsoever, she would rather be on the street, so chances are we’re not exactly in terrific standing. This song’s a token of respect to a strong woman, a bit hardened by her surroundings, but worthy nonetheless. One of my favorite lyrics on the album is “all alone she went back home but life on earth is strange, things you can’t remember battle things that have to change” Story of my life, Frank! This song should be played for mother-in-laws everywhere. Big props to Paul Gaita for the tasteful percussion on this number as well. Solid.
My Baby Plays Conga:
What’s left to say that hasn’t been said? “My baby plays the conga black and blue” Everyone knows the simple law of attraction: a woman playing hand percussion = greater sex appeal. Bon Scott knew it when he sang “Girls Got Rhythm” It’s factual science. As appetizing as, say “Kansas City porkchop, mustard, cheese” Damn your album really makes me hungry. I’ll have to pitch some of these to my Boar’s Head rep come summer. Seriously though, really awesome imagery, especially when foods concerned. It’s a full sensory experience dancing across my palette. Jim Gaffigan would revel in this album through and through.
A somber, dreary, highway-cruising depiction of the addict I’m fairly certain each of us are all too familiar with. The dark side of substance use when you’ll “beg, borrow, lie and steal” just to get high. It makes my skin crawl, but I feel it imperative for people to hear this type of uncomfortable subject matter, wether to create a dialogue or simply listen to the torment that some of our brothers and sisters endure. This is a ballad of a persons quiet, daily struggle to climb up from the trenches of pharmaceutical dependance. It’s happening on a very real, human level and it’s happening often. It is woeful taboo, often shunned and especially criticized. As Neil Young sang “I sing the song because I love the man, I know that some of you don’t understand, milk-blood to keep from running out” It’s a difficult discussion, but I like that you took a relatively cheerful sounding album into the shadows a bit here. It speaks a lot of your ability to cover the whole spectrum of raw human emotion. Well done!
Whiskey and Wine:
I listened to this drinking a Manhattan out on my deck, so technically, I was consuming both spirits. I love how they’re referred to as a currency of sorts with the line “every dollar I made was part of a trade to get me more whiskey and wine” This tune left me with such a nice, content feeling. It’s the imminent surrender at the end of a long day when you finally break out the bottle and pour your first. The trick is to dodge that whole “hanging your head” part. Who doesn’t partake in a little excess from time to time. It makes for the stories we can’t remember, but that we’ll also never forget.
Same Old Us:
I can see why this song has a good portion of plays on streaming services. It creates an atmosphere almost as if whatever happens, nothing is going to get you down in the doldrums (with the exception of the occasional hiccup of heartache). Leaky faucet, yard full of leaves, you name it. All is well as long as we are able to love and be loved in that right. The slow ballad croons over a heart so full of love, that it refuses to let the little things whittle away at it’s bright luster. As long as we hold onto that love, the irks of everyday life are answered with nothing more than a wry smile. Musically, that slide guitar is pristinely beautiful. The words and instrumentation complement each other here and collectively intermingle to create a general, feel-good mood. I hope Alyssa keeps it top of mind incase the honey-do list ever falls a touch short. Bravo!
Who doesn’t love blondes? A playful ballad in appreciation of top-hatted blondes everywhere. Whimsical and fun. Old timely yet modern, with references such as “Bruno Mars” and “Springsteen” laced in artfully. It covers all of them, from Rita Hayworth to Margot Robbie (although I can’t say with confidence wether any of them are naturally blonde). It just goes to show that maybe we’re all a little blonde sometimes, wether we’re “splitting atoms or hairs” or “climbing down the drain from the balcony”. The play on words had me snickering while simultaneously bobbing my head.
I had the pleasure of hearing Frank perform this at my annual songwriting class down south. In risk of breaching “Sam Snead Suite” confidentiality, I’ll just briefly say that although he referred to this as his “back pocket” song, I feel it’s become so much more than that. Not only does it get better and more meaningful with each listen, but it has sortve a Willy Nelson feel to it that’s so satisfying to the ear, potentially emphasized by the chord placement and rhythmic strumming. Warms the heart and soul, much like the rest of the album it exists within.
Thanks for seeing this wonderfully authentic creation through, Frank! It is plain to see everyone involved really worked their asses off while, as RG remarked, making it look and sound effortless. I look forward to hearing more music in the future!