CrookedCatAdams is the moniker of singer/songwriter Patrick Barry who just released his first record called A Meyersdale Trilogy. It is an eclectic album that derives influences from Americana roots music such as folk as well as pop. It took Barry a year to complete this record and it was more than worth it. The songwriting is exceptional as well as the rich instrumentation that we hear on the album. The album has a morning glow to it that you hear on albums from Simon & Garfunkel and Fleet Foxes. Additionally, what might be most impressive is the way melancholy is implemented into the songs more often than not. Barry coats his songs in melancholy through his voice and instrumentation but sprinkles just enough hope and optimism into the songs that they instill a feeling of warmth and comfort.
The album kicks off with “Everything Is Everything,” which not only has lyrics that avoids typical clichés but contains a memorable vocal melody. Musically, the song feels like it could come apart at any moment but does not. It relies on sparse army-like snare hits, banjo, and a warm pad of atmosphere. “Sonny” revolves around a commanding lead vocal and narrative about our protagonist. The song draws its influences from 60’s and 70’s folk as well as a bit from The Grateful Dead.
“Broken Images” is a sparse song that is little more than acoustic guitar and vocals. The additional components Barry adds are tasteful such as the “bell sound” and tambourine. The background vocals were also a nice touch. “Ghosts of St. Petersburg” is the biggest departure from his previous material on the album. He utilizes dark tones with distorted guitars, pianos, and what sounds like electronic drums. The music sounds ominous as well as hypnotic as it progresses.
“This Town” has some unique tones but also suffers a bit production-wise. The low end sounded a bit muddy. There is a revival quality to “Blue Light” that is infectious making it a highlight of the album. Barry closes with “I Let The Light In” which may be the strongest track on the album. Everything works in this song. The music is rich with originality and the vocals sound emotionally resonant.
A Meyersdale Trilogy has very few moments that I can criticize. Barry is a gifted songwriter who obviously has put a lot of thought into this record. It is a cohesive album that is enjoyable from start to finish.
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