Reviewed: Patrick Sweany – That Old Southern Drag (Nine Mile, 2011)
Patrick Sweany – That Old Southern Drag (Nine Mile, 2011)
Ohio native and Nashville immigrant Patrick Sweany makes rootsy sounds that are out of place on Music Row, but will be welcomed in the home of anyone who likes a side order of the ‘60s with their rock, soul, and blues. The album rolls through Southern soul, vintage rock ‘n’ roll and anguished R’n’B, dovetailing punchy production with memories of Delaney and Bonnie, Arthur Alexander and the throwback sounds of Marshall Crenshaw. The bass, drums and rhythm guitar bolster the melodic howl of Sweany’s voice; his singing is edgy, pleading, and emotionally raw from blue disappointment. The nostalgic “Rising Tide” hits a ‘70s rock groove that might have belonged to Bad Company, but the deep bass, funky horns, vamping organ and guitar figures of “The Edges” return the listener to the Memphis that Dan Penn laid on the Hacienda Brothers. The tour de force ballad “More and More” is given the Otis Redding treatment with hard percussive stops, while the acoustic plea “Frozen Lake” is gut-wrenching in the blue-soul of its romantic apprehension. Sweany is well-known as a guitarist and songwriter, and he bolster each accolade here, but it’s the deep well of emotion in every vocal that will make this record stick in your heart.