Courtney Patton is a force of personality. She makes you feel whatever she is feeling. Most of the time that is a jovial, life of the party hubris that makes everyone happier than before they saw, heard or listened to her. Patton also knows how to lean into the sad stuff too. When you combine this duality with her ability to sing circles around most, you discover what truly makes her a special songwriter and performer.
Patton’s one of those artists that has never quite captured her best self on her studio recordings. Her previous efforts have been solid collections with good songs included, but they just kind of miss hitting that home run level. Electrostatic puts an end to that. Produced by Band of Heathen Gordy Quist and supported by a cavalcade of A-list musicians, the songs on this album find Patton treading that powerful, soulful, rock-infused folk-country land populated by acts such as Linda Ronstadt, Sheryl Crow and Stevie Nicks. The unique thing being that Patton infuses each lyric with personal joy, grief, pain, elation and wonder. She wrote them with emotional power and sings them even more powerfully.
Patton’s always known how to give you a ballad and make you believe it. On this record, she dusts off the other sides of her repertoire. Lead track, “Hold Fast” is the best synopsis of the past two-three years of all of our lives.
This past year tried to kill us all, a makeshift boat beats a waterfall…
and it turned the tide back on itself and dusted off demons
on a basement shelf and made them shine…
with all this introspection, we’re forced to face our own reflection
we survived the strain
“Never On the Hurting End” picks up the torch from there and brings the heat. This is a kiss-off song that male artists produce regularly, but it is striking and cool to hear one from someone like Patton. “Do You Feel Love” kicks up the jams and tempo even further and harkens back to the best Harold Shedd produced Judds tracks from the late 80’s. “So Flies the Crow” finds Patton leaning into her love of yacht rock, without the cheese. The vibe is all there and so is the performance.
The title track is one of the best pieces of music about grief that I’ve ever heard. Be it about Patton’s sister she lost or her friend Kylie Rae Harris or someone near to you, the words in this song transport you to a heavy space. The performance and production are tender, measured and aware of the energy involved. Patton weaves in imagery from nature and if you are not moved by this song reaching the first refrain, the tears will likely flow involuntarily. At least they did for me. This is trauma reconciliation set to music.
Not created or destroyed
I never felt you leave this place
Though I long to see your face one more time
What would once more grant me
But an endless case of wanting
For a ladder to your cloud so I could climb
Courtney Patton is communicative, emotive and honest. Her heart stays on her sleeve in all weather and for the first time the recording studio hasn’t put the umbrella over that heart when it was raining or lent shade when it was sunny. This record is all heart, all Courtney Patton and all incredible.