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PAT MACDONALD SPEAKS OF \"IN THE RED ROOM\"
(excerpt from the liner notes)
\"The Red Room is a corner bar in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, a couple blocks from Katherine\'s mom\'s, where we live in the U.S.
Harley Junior (a.k.a. \"H\" or \"Nick\") was kind enough to open it on a Sunday and give us the run of the place, so we moved aside the pool table, set up a P.A. and invited a few friends to drop by later that night.
Everything on this disk was played and recorded that day, February 1st, 2004, between 6pm and 2am closing time - just me, my guitar, my foot and harmonica, live with no overdubs.
Surviving my cruel process of elimination, a lucky thirteen (eight new originals, three new versions, and a couple covers) made it to this disc. The production cost was about $200, including 3 rooms at the Holiday Motel and a $50 bar tab.
I thank everyone who so generously contributed their time and equipment, especially Chris Aaron, H, the Red Room staff, recording engineers Dave Kent and Don Jackovich, mastering engineers Plopper and Vicarious Bliss. Thanks also to Connie for the use of her house, her daughter and so much more, Katherine for more than i can even express, Peter for his analog delay, Jessica, both Jeffs, Zack, Richard, Jim, Tim, Dylan, Hillel, Moolay Management and all who cheered me on and helped load out at 3am.\"
PAT MACDONALD: THE TROUBADOR OF STOMP
by Jason Broome
\"I\'ve always been drawn to the lower notes on the guitar,\" says Macdonald when questioned about his sound. His trademark is a unique dirtch of dark and murky blues boogie and sex-swamp. He is the epitome of an old school one man show with his custom made boot stomp box, electric semi-hollow guitar and a voice that is at once angelic and evil.
The heart stop of a subwoofer and the sometimes backing beauty and voice of his companion Katherine aid in the haunt and the \"spooky modal mountain melodies\" of his music. He spent hours in his room as a teenager listening and playing to John Lee Hooker which is evident in the way he approaches sound and emotion. After seeing Macdonald solo, it is easy to see how other instruments might just get in the way of the boogie spook and feelings he nails.
It is a feat to stand out amongst a sea of mediocre singer/songwriters. Pat does this easily and even more so when he is sandwiched between standard rock formats. His sound is an easy lay in any environment, finding comfort in a roadhouse or music hall. His lyrics are strong and the feeling comes through beautifully in the nakedness of the solo delivery. There is a scent of the sweet and dangerous, of the sexy and vulnerable. This is no surprise hearing Pat talk about music. \"Music is ethereal sex, like having sex in the air.\" Or how he describes the meeting of mind and body in his songwriting. \"Song writing can be consciously putting complex thoughts into metaphor, but if you are not expressing the horny human animal part of you then the thoughts get in the way of the feeling. My favorite music has both going on, when the two parts of human nature find harmony.\"
Listening to a Pat Macdonald record, it becomes clear he practices what he preaches. His songs get in your head and you are forced to put his record on, not because you can\'t get it out of your head, but because you ache to hear the real thing again. His studio work in particular does an excellent job of defining the subtle nuance the mood and sway of emotion in song. The production aids in this definition of mood and Pat\'s records have the added blessing of John Parish (P.J. Harvey, Eels, Sparklehorse) as producer and sometimes player his studio ventures.
Macdonald has written songs for a long list of characters including Cher and Aerosmith but you wouldn\'t know it from talking to him. With the exception of his new live record, In The Red Room, which is available on CD Baby, you might have to search to find his music. It is out there, Pat claims you can find \"Sleeps With His Guitar\" on Ebay sometimes, but some of his records are only available in Europe. It is well worth the hunt however, since each album transmits a different voice. Most obviously, last year\'s release of \"Strange Love, PM Does DM\", an entire acoustic album of Depeche Mode songs. His new live album will give you the best overview of his live style and song writing spunk, but Begging Her Graces is also worth a listen. It weaves a variety of genres all the while holding true to the strength of the songs.
Pat has the salt and pause of an elder statesmen when he speaks about his philosophy of music and life. They seem to him inextricably intertwined. Yet, for someone so passionate about his beliefs and ideas he seems overtly nonjudgmental about how others live their lives.
When asked about his denial of over a million dollars in advertising, he makes a point to state that his own opinions on the subject should never condemn anyone else in their choices. He speaks as a man who has found his place on the complex see-saw of music and promotion and is content to let others find their own way. \"Everyone has to find their comfort zone,\" he says, \"it is harder and harder for musicians to make a living these days... the meshing of commercialism and music is not the death of art. Music adds a bit of magic to a product being sold, but for me it robs some magic from the music. I made a promise to myself a long time ago. It\'s good to keep promises you make to yourself.\" -JB