Clark Paterson The Final Tradition
Outlaw country was a little bit of a trick. Some of the hardcore hombres tilling that soil were the real deal. Townes Van Zandt and Billy Joe Shaver got thrown into the crowd, but quickly proved that were too out for the outlaws and found their own horizons to chase. Clark Paterson comes from different—but equally strong—stock.
He grew up on his family's farm Sandusky, Michigan and towed the line through high school, going on to college in Chicago. Then he hit the road hard, with a guitar and backpack, no doubt exploring a few Jack Kerouac visions, making it all the way around the world. Then he went into commercial real estate. Really. That couldn't last, and classes at the Windy City's Old Town Folk School sealed the deal.
That's when the big muses started to visit Paterson, and this album shows what a welcome home they found inside him.
These are real-deal songs, the kind that will pulverize what has come before in the artist's life. Lyrically he's writing short stories based in verse, and sonically he owes as much to Nick Cave as Ferlin Husky.
He lives in East Nashville now, and just might be the flag carrier for what can be done there. If it's been too long since soul-scary music has invaded the neighborhood, this is the one to find.
Ranging from "Kansas Saturday Night" to "My Hand Knows the Touch," a killer contender has claimed the right to call himself that. Darkness has never spread so much light.
— Bill Bentley