These days everyone seems to be searching for authenticity. The Beard Police, also known as Patrick Shaw, just may possess this illusive quality. On his debut album, …All Things to be Considered, he sings of common life struggles and trials. He doesn’t put on airs or try to be anything other than what he is; a family man and recently retired member of the coast guard. Shaw pairs honest life narratives with nice guitar riffs and simple soft-rock melodies.
The self-proclaimed husband, father, helicopter pilot and washed up athlete has been making music for most of his life. The album seeps with a love of life and song. The lyrics provide the best outlet for these passions. Common themes include a desire for spontaneity during mid-life boredom and the everyday struggles of surviving adult life.
On the track “Graphic Novel” Shaw explains his sudden craving to, as the title suggests, write a graphic novel. Although a seemingly simple goal, in the context of everyday responsibilities and commitments, such a goal can easily become lost. Shaw grapples with this conundrum and other mid-life trials through simple un-coded songs that would provide easy listening on a summer night.
Since 1991, Shaw has been experimenting with in-home recording. This passion has culminated in this album, released in May. The sound quality on the album reflects this experience and knowledge obtained by Shaw throughout the years. However, the best environment for this music is most likely on a lawn on a summer evening with an ice cold beer in your hand.
The Beard Police’s acoustic sound and honest lyrics correlate with classic rock figures like Tom Petty and Billy Joel. Shaw’s gruff, slightly flat voice especially reminds one of Mr. Petty. More recent influences could include Dawes or Josh Ritter, although they both hit on folk notes more often than Shaw, who leans country.
This album isn’t particularly complex or ground-breaking. The songs are non-offensive, family friendly and sometimes plain. However where Shaw lacks in innovation and shine, he makes up for in heart and passion.
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