Patrick Ames - "Harmonium" (Album)

Singer Songwriter Patrick Ames is no stranger to profound lyricism and arresting emotion in his stripped-down musical offerings, and new album "Harmonium" is undoubtedly his most powerful and life-affirming collection to date. "Harmonium" is a lean, 7-track album deceptively heavy on raw, beautiful expression of the human experience. Patrick's poetic, intuitive poetry and vocal delivery reveal intimate wisdom and a relentless pursuit of truth, no matter how atypical, whimsical or challenging. Always topical, the songs on this magical collection range from the hard-hitting universal truth of "No People Are Supreme" to the heart-on-the-sleeve honesty of "Is It Okay to Complain" to the sublime closer, "Grace". Written and conceived in Patrick's home vineyard, the songs are about as immediately natural as it gets. Because of it's lean track listing and purposely vulnerable, raw approach, "Harmonium" becomes all the more affecting. Frequent collaborator and veteran producer Jon Ireson puts his distinct imprint on each track.

Stream "Harmonium" on Bandcamp.

From the Artist:
We interrupt this In the Vineyard blog with the essence of what I like to do while living in the vineyard: write music and record it.  Enjoy the new LP. It’s available everywhere online.

Harmonium is the title of Wallace Stevens’ first book of poetry (1923) and I happened to be reading it while in my music studio about a century later, during the 2021-2022 Omicron virus wave. The poems were inspiring so I borrowed the title for a new music project and then buried myself alive for about three months trying to emulate the inspiration. I was also trying to ignore the news, the virus wave and then the war in Ukraine, trying to be positive, inspired, busy. As such, there are no grand overarching themes in this new LP. Only a purposeful exploration of what I want to matter again. That’s why there’s Grace, the LP’s finale. 

Producer Jon Ireson propelled Harmonium within this minimalistic songwriting space. He kept it intact. He kept it curious. His bass lines throughout the whole LP are gorgeous and deserve their own listen. But he also played or programmed almost all the instruments, continuing our long-distance collaboration left over from the Virtualistics LP.  What a wonderful joy to work with such a talented musician and producer! His guitar soloing on DontChaWanna is classic and his arrangement and mix on No People Are Supreme is mesmerizing. Every song has something special and you’ll notice right away that Jon changed my voice microphone setup – finally we could get down into some raspy crevices.

Chana Matthews joined us at the end to record and her voice and spirit are beautiful and soaring and we had fun in the studio as you will hear.

Harmonium is a well-produced mashup of poetry, art, music, and 2020’s social commentary. It’s where I went to heal and it’s what I came out singing.
Patrick Ames - "Harmonium" (Album) Patrick Ames - "Harmonium" (Album) Reviewed by Albert Miller on 26.12.22 Rating: 5

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