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Beth Patterson


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Celtic/mainstream pop/Cajun hybrid

Status:

Most recent release, On Better Paths (2009)

See also:

Beth Patterson's site

Comparisons:

If I could think of somebody else who can create and sing hybrid Celtic-Cajun songs, I might be able to find an apt comparison. Perhaps if Stevie Nicks sang Celtic music this is what she'd sound like. But there's nobody under the sun like Beth Patterson. Patterson has overwhelming talent, and it shows in her two CDs, Hybrid Vigor and Take Some Fire. It's not just the mix of genres that makes Patterson's CDs so compelling, but the exotic, melodic, sultry, forceful, slightly edgy and certainly mysterious quality of her voice combined with a refreshingly unique and original lyrics that make you want to listen to these CDs over and over again. (billonline@adlerbooks.com)

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

When you put on a Beth Patterson CD, you're in for a genuine treat. For one thing, you've never heard anybody like her before—such originality and creativity is what music lovers lust for. Hearing her brand of Celtic-Cajun-Hybrid-Pop is like being introduced to chocolate-covered strawberries—whoever invented that combination made the lives of millions of people better.
     Beth Patterson sings highly energized songs about love, spirit, and life. (billonline@adlerbooks.com)

Comments about live performance:

High energy isn't quite sufficient as a description. Neither is melodic, vibrant, dazzling, though her performances are all those things. The best way to put it is if you have a chance to see Beth Patterson perform live, do it! You'll see the bouzouki in the hands of a master. Getting a chance to see Beth Patterson perform might be a good excuse to take a trip to New Orleans: Beth Patterson's local stomping ground is O'Flaherty's Irish Channel Pub in that historic city. (billonline@adlerbooks.com)

Recommended first album:

There are two paths you can take when trying to figure out which Beth Patterson CD to buy. You can purchase one of her solo CDs (the most recent, Take Some Fire is arguably not only Beth Patterson's best, but one of the best pop, Celtic or hybrid CDs of the year). Both Hybrid Vigor and Take Some Fire are enthralling mixes of Celtic and Cajun music (with other stuff thrown in.)
     Or you can buy one of the CDs she produced with The Poor Clares. The Poor Clares, her former band, are distinctively and exclusively Celtic. If you want to hear her perform pure Celtic music, then pick up Change of Habit or Resurrected Lover. (The Poor Clares are Beth Patterson, Betsy McGovern, Justin Murphy, and Patrick O'Flaherty.) (billonline@adlerbooks.com)

Recordings:

  • Change of Habit (with the Poor Clares)
  • Resurrected Lover (with the Poor Clares)
  • Songs for Midwinter (with the Poor Clares)
  • Hybrid Vigor (solo CD. 1999)
  • Take Some Fire (with Kalafka, 2002)
  • Caught In The Act (live, 2005)
  • On Better Paths (2009)

Hybrid Vigor

Release info:

1999—Little Blue Men Records, 504-469-5322

Availability:

See website

Ecto priority:

Recommended if you like, or think you might like, Celtic-Cajun music. Or just like good music period.

Group members:

Beth Patterson—lead and harmony vocals, bouzouki, mandolin, bass guitar, bombo, caixixi, ashiko, zills, rhumba box, whip, handclaps

Guest artists:

Clare Fitzpatrick—fiddle
Derek Hickey—button accordion
Steve White—shaker, doumbek
Justin Murphy—flute, tin whistle, bodhran
John Rankin—guitar
Jason Marsalis—drums, caixixi, tambourine, cowbell, handclaps
Jim Crowley—bouzouki
Ron Keller—harmony vocals
Eoin Duignan—low whistle, uilleann pipes
Tony Serio—snare drum
Errol DiBona—scottish marching snare
Denise Marie—guitar
Reggie Murray—didjeridoo

Produced by:

Beth Patterson

Comments:

This CD was recorded in River Ridge, Louisiana and Ventry, Ireland.

Hybrid Vigor is a great CD. Beth Patterson's music and vocals are stellar. Some of the songs on Hybrid Vigor are purely instrumental, where Patterson's incredible bouzouki playing is the star of the show.
     Hybrid Vigor is a apt title for a CD that's a mix of Celtic songs (including some reels and traditional tunes), original pop, and Cajun songs. "Hybrid" because of the genres that are brought together on this CD; "vigor" because when you listen to this CD, you can't help but absorb some of the sheer oomph that accompanies many of these songs.
     One of the songs on this CD, "Steer by the Stars," is truly a wonderful (and wonderfully melancholy) love song. Even if you have only the slightest propensity to cry at weddings, school plays, and sad movies, you'll be touched by "Steer by the Stars," whose lyrics go like this:

With twilight descending and slumber you find
And I am certain that I have safely passed from your mind
Only then can I serenade you unconfined
In the secrecy of my heart...

But we all take our chances on what we regain
But only fools rush in where an angel's been slain...

On Hybrid Vigor Beth Patterson sings one song in French: "Je M'endors", a Cajun ballad—you can just feel what the words mean, even if you don't know any French. (billonline@adlerbooks.com)

Take Some Fire

Release info:

2002

Availability:

See website

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Beth Patterson—lead and backing vocals, 8 and 10 string Irish bouzoukis, slap bouzouki, charrango, bombo, ashiko, oboe, rhumba box, windchimes, song pod, zills, whip shakers, doumbek, bass, cymbals
Kalafka:
     Clyde Thompson—fiddle
     Chris Sharkey—bass guitar, upright bass
     Miguel "michelie" Banegas—congas, bongos, shakers
     Matt "Ishboo" Swiler—drums, tables, cajon

Guest artists:

Makgathi Mokwena, Ron Keller, Tony Serio, Errol di Bona, Justin Murphy, Peter Holsapple

Produced by:

Ron Keller

Comments:

What a triumph this CD is. One of the defining criteria for Ectophiles is that we like musicians who can touch all our senses with their music—and that's what Beth Patterson does on Take Some Fire.
     The first song on the CD, "Exodus", opens with a Middle Eastern sound, which gently glides into a Celtic rhythm. This transition is accomplished with such brilliance that you can't help but be in awe over "Exodus". It sets the stage for a magnificent CD.
     On Take Some Fire, Beth Patterson's fist collaboration with her band Kalafka, you'll find songs of love, longing, and passion. It's an inspiring, uplifting and thoroughly enjoyable CD.
     In "Balance of this Dance", Beth Patterson sings about music itself:
Oh, heed the music tonight
And pray, disregard the former
Stolen glances, whirling dances
Can gradually lead your thoughts away
And that's exactly what Take Some Fire does—it leads your thoughts away. (billonline@adlerbooks.com)


Thanks to Bill Adler for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2010-11-09 21:47:00.
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