Artist: Patrick Ames: Guitars and vocals; Jon Ireson: Bass, guitars and keyboards and Chana Matthews: Backup vocals

Album: ‘Harmonium;’ Released: June 1, 2022; Produced and programed by Ireson

Contemplating what truly matters the most to society, particularly during a time when the world is contending with the aftermath of several complex adversities, can be an emotional journey for anyone who’s looking to reevaluate their life. Singer-songwriter Patrick Ames is highlighting his belief that society should embrace a positive transformation in how people find happiness, and determine what truly matters, again in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine on his newly released R&B-soul-rock album, ‘Harmonium.’

The musician reunited with his frequent collaborator, instrumentalist-producer Jon Ireson, on the acoustic record to create seven new songs that feature his signature profound, emotional lyricism. As a result, ‘Harmonium’ proves to be Ames’ most powerful and life-affirming collection of his career. as it’s a raw, beautiful expression of the human experience.

‘Harmonium,’ which is also the title of writer Wallace Stevens’ first book of poetry that was released in 1923, influenced Ames’ intuitive poetry and vocal delivery throughout his new LP. His latest tracks reveal intimate wisdom and a relentless pursuit of truth, no matter how atypical or challenging the journey ultimately proves to be. The tunes are driven by the emotional vulnerability behind society’s universal truths.

The singer’s latest album begins with the vital entry, ‘No People Are Supreme.’ Influenced by the dark times seen in the current world news reports, he reminds his listeners that everyone is equal. Also inspired by the music of 1960s rock musicians, notably Jim Morrison, the slow paced soft rock song features commanding lyrics that are directed against those in power who believe they’re superior to others. Set against stunning acoustic rock guitar strumming, Ames croons in layered vocals that it’s time to show up for democracy and ban the hate that prevents everyone from truly being free.

Another notable entry on ‘Harmonium’ is its fourth track, the uptempo, electric ‘DontChaWanna.’ The singer, who describes the tune as the energy song that was placed perfectly in the middle of the record for momentum, croons over a lively rock guitar groove. While the lyrics are a bit simplistic, as Ames repeatedly asks his listeners if they want to quit their jobs and instead become rock stars, the track’s overall message is meaningful; he encourages his audience to take charge of their lives. He revealed that he wanted to create an encouraging tune that was lighter in mood and tone than the rest of the songs on the LP after the COVID virus and quarantine made him realize that he wants to continue pursuing his dreams and embrace life.

‘Harmonium’ begins to wind down with its penultimate entry, ‘Last Night is No Mistake,’ which is the collection’s best track. As the first tune the musician wrote for the album, it emulates the afterglow feeling of a new situation; in the narrative, that circumstance is a new relationship. Driven by soaring acoustic guitars riffs and backup vocals from another one of his frequent collaborators, fellow singer Chana Matthews, the duo passionately croon about the possibility of meeting and going on a date with their future spouse.

The musician’s latest record then ends on a more positive outlook with its last entry, ‘Grace,’ which was the last song that was written for the project. Ames expressed his sincere gratitude that the end of the pandemic appears to be in sight, as well as everything else he’s thankful for during the current troubling times. It’s a heartfelt and poignant conclusion to an otherwise politically tinged LP.

Ames is highlighting his belief that society should embrace a positive transformation in how people find happiness, and determine what they want to matter, again in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine on ‘Harmonium.’ The album’s tracks reveal intimate wisdom and a relentless pursuit of truth, no matter how atypical or challenging people’s journeys ultimately proves to be. The tunes are driven by an emotional vulnerability and honesty behind society’s universal truths. In addition to its raw, beautiful expression of the human experience, the record proves to be Ames’ most powerful and life-affirming collection of his career.

For more information on Ames, visit his official website, as well as his Spotify, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube pages.

The cover for singer-songwriter Patrick Ames’ acoustic R&B rock album, ‘Harmonium.’

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By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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