Back in February of 2003 I saw David Gray play at a jam-packed Northrup Auditorium, on his pre-New Day at Midnight tour. In front of nearly 5,000 people, out walked his opener, this quiet guy who nobody'd ever seen before. Once he started singing a hush went over the place; he'd grabbed our attention.
I loved his stuff then, when it was in its beginnings, having just released his debut EP Under the Unminding Skies a couple days earlier. I was a ways back in the auditorium, but I remember being sucked in by the earnestness in his voice and how poignant his short set was.
Almost five years later, the Colorado native is back in Minneapolis headlining his own show at the 7th Street Entry, a small, run-down, but intimate joint. Since 2003 he's released two full-length albums, Loneliness Knows My Name and Everyone's in Everyone, and has had a couple singles featured on Fox's The O.C.. I'm guessing he gained considerable popularity when his song "Life Is a Song" was played during the show's final episode. His myspace page shows a little over a half-million plays, so I was really surprised with how few people showed up tonight. This makes me wonder how many good artists I miss out on simply because I haven't heard of them before. They need to be marketed better.
Because Patrick is fucking good. It's just him, his guitar, harmonica, and mic. He stands up there, picking and strumming strongly, singing without holding anything back. His voice is very distinctive: folky, substantial (not airy), and genuine. His lyrics are generally melancholy but all of his songs have either an optimistic or really impassioned feel to them. His music varies and thus doesn't lend itself to boredom: it's not all sad, slow stuff. In short, he's a supremely talented singer-songwriter who plays raw, passionate, beautiful music.
Although it may not be awesome for his paycheck, it's always really cool to be at small shows when you can talk to the performer afterward. I asked Patrick to play my favorite song of his, "Love Is a Bomb," (solely on his debut EP) on his myspace page the night before, and so I was happily surprised when he introduced his second song, saying "this one's for Bryon." Turns out he's a really, really nice guy; getting to know him better makes me want to do all I can to get him out there a little more, so please check out his official website or his myspace.