Matt Patershuk keeps it twangy, thoughtful and just a bit weird
Music | by Stephen Whitworth
Matt Patershuk lives and makes music in La Glace, Alberta, a northern town of 300 people. Three of which are his family — his wife and two daughters, Rose and Violet.
La Glace’s official census probably doesn’t include Patershuk’s horses Katie, Sugar and Oreo, but such are the bureaucratic tyrannies of the fallen times we live in.
La Glace, if you haven’t been, is way out there — north and west of Edmonton.
“We’re pretty close to the start of the Alaska highway, the region’s claim to fame I guess,” says Patershuk. “We’re about halfway between Grand Prairie and Dawson Creek, so it’s about a 45-minute drive.”
That’s a short trip for a guy who this fall is bringing his new album, Same As I Ever Have Been, to seven cities (and Crooked Creek, an unincorporated community), across three provinces. On Oct. 26 the tour wagon stops in the glittering metropolis of Saskatoon.
You should totally go see them play! Same As I Ever Have Been is a soulful country album with warmly thoughtful and slightly off-kilter insights into life, love, heartbreak, death and all that good twangy stuff.
Same As I Ever Have Been is Patershuk’s third record, and his second produced by roots star Steve Dawson, who also brings da strings. A rock-solid roster of talent — including T-Bone Burnett drummer Jay Bellerose — round out the squad, which recorded Same As I Ever Have Been mostly straight into microphones as a band rather than a disconnected collection of soloists playing their parts one at a time, “assembly required” style.
The album was recorded in Bryan Adam’s famous Vancouver studio, but it was forged in rural Alberta. That’s what makes it good, says Patershuk.
“Being isolated from the rest of the music community can be a helpful thing,” says Patershuk. “Being on the margins of things is good for being a writer, or that’s what I tell myself when I’ve got to drive eight hours to Calgary for a gig.
Being a parent is educational, too.
“I’m getting to the stage now where I think I’m learning more from [my daughters] than they are from me,” says Patershuk, whose last name is pronounced “patter” (the sound small footsteps make on a floor) rather than “pater” (the Latin word for father). “You see the world through someone else’s eyes when you have kids. They’re both really compassionate but also strong, and I’m always learning something just from their example as they wander through the world.”
As for his new album and this tour? One reckons it’s kind of a mission. A mission of fun.
“We’ve just been kinda hopping all over, trying to play for folks and let them listen to the new album in hopes of making a few new friends, I guess,” says Patershuk.
Here’s hoping Patershuk finds some new pals in Saskatoon.
HE’S A SKETCHY EMPLOYEE “I was just watching some clips of Billy Connolly the other day. That guy makes me roar with laughter. I was at work unfortunately. Hopefully the IT guy’s getting a laugh when he’s spying on me.”
THE TEACHINGS OF HORSES “People have an interesting relationship with them, especially my kids and my wife. Working as a team with something that has the capacity to easily overpower you and not listen to a word you’re saying is a great way to learn patience.”
COUNTRY FOLKS ARE NICER “I find people in rural areas to be incredibly generous and community-oriented, and willing to pitch-in in a communal fashion that city people aren’t, in my experience.”
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH ALBERTA POLITICS? “It’s definitely in a period of flux and it’ll be interesting to see what happens next election. The two major cities have elected really progressive mayors and I think there’s a bit of a divide in Alberta society and things are changing. Sometimes when that happens, folks who are used to the status quo can get upset. And that’s unfortunate but I think the province is changing for the better and becoming more progressive and we’ll see what happens in the future, I guess.