Artist: Patrick Ames: vocals, guitars and midi-guitar synth; Chana Matthews: vocals; and Mikaila Matthews: vocals
EP: ‘Liveness;’ Jon Ireson: producer
Embracing the ideals they’re most passionate about is essential for any musician in their quest to find and maintain success, and connect with their fans. San Francisco Bay Area-based singer-songwriter, Patrick Ames is doing just that with his upcoming poetic six-track Motown-classical-inspired EP, ‘Liveness.’
Scheduled to be released on April 4, the melodic record spiritually examines people’s connections with not just themselves and the people in their lives, but also society as a whole. Through his eccentric style, wisdom and black humor, the Californian musician stunningly explores the psychological effects that relationships and social issues have on people of all backgrounds.
Inspired by artists like Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen and Gil Scot Heron, Ames effortlessly infused ‘Liveness’ with impressive folk-experimental-inspired vocals and instrumentals. Throughout the EP, the prolific, eclectic storyteller reveals a complex set of inspirations in his raw, fiercely recording style.
Ames, who grew up in a household full of music, has also been inspired in his songwriting by the majority of his professional life having been spent in technical book publishing. His current musical consciousness has been influenced by the fact in both fields, the end product is a finished work of communication, and the path from early inspiration to finish is creative and ever-evolving.
During ‘Liveness,’ the singer has emphasizes his personal signature style through raspy vocals and insightful lyrics. He lives in a Napa vineyard, where he also writes and records, and maintains his DIY production approach. He has proven himself as a musician by experimenting with live studio recording, which is unusual in folk and acoustic music. But the record proves to be a success through his devoted disposition and production style.
On ‘Liveness,’ Ames accents his DIY recording techniques with having multiple live mics, which help accentuate his vocals and accompanying guitar, and convey the energy of a live performance. He decided to leave in all the quirks that occurred throughout recording, which help give the songs personality. Through the strumming of the acoustic guitar, the twang and squeak of the strings, and the strain of his vocals helped infuse a soulfulness into the record. The ultimate feeling of liveness makes the resulting six tunes emotional and vibrant.
‘Liveness’ opens with the blues-flavored entry, ‘Bang Bang Bang,’ which is driven by hints of gospel. The singer advocates for the ending of gun violence through blazing vocal harmonies. Offering much needed social commentary on the war on gun violence, Ames preaches for peace through a gospel-driven tribute to Heron. Ames’ political and rebellious lyrics note that only a revolution of voting and protest will work.
Another noteworthy song on the EP is its third track, ‘Just Before I Said I Do (Wedding Song),’ which featuring a sensuous melody. Aided by a stunning rhythm, the musician’s vocals infuse his lyrics with an appealing energy. Driven by an energetic Tango flavor and calming and soothing instrumentation and intimate lyrics, the soulful tune is the perfect soundtrack for romance.
‘Just Before I Said I Do (Wedding Song)’ then transitions into ‘Liveness’ fourth entry, ‘Slow Dancing,’ which features alluring Latin flavors, particularly in Ames’ rich vocals, which are reminiscent of Cohen. The expressive and tantalizing lyrics in the track allows the singer to relive the innocence of one of the nights in his childhood, during which he secretly watched his parents dance. With the compelling progressions of the guitar chords, the tune is an emotional tribute to his parents.
The record concludes with its blues and soul-inspired sixth tune, ‘Want to Believe,’ which is a remix of a song from Ames’ album, ‘Standard Candles.’ The musician once again offers social commentary on the rock-blues-soul-inspired track, which critically delves into the impersonality and indifference of technology. He notes that through the constant use of such technology as cell phones and computers, the masses are willingly devoting their lives to the constant connection to society through a screen.
Supporting the beliefs they’re most passionate about is essential for any musician in their quest to find and maintain success, and connect with their fans. Ames is doing just that with ‘Liveness,’ which spiritually examines people’s connections with not just themselves, but also society as a whole. Through his eccentric style, wisdom and black humor, the singer strikingly explores the psychological effects that relationships and social issues have on people of all backgrounds.