Southern experimental folk group Patch is sure to start perking up more and more ears and getting increasing crowds of passionate fans in the near future. With a 7-song EP out in late March or early April, following the South by Southwest music festival (SXSW), Patch’s musicians have their heart and soul in their music – and it’s music above the ordinary: often about the extraordinary nature of the ordinary, in fact.
With a tour planned for this summer, the as-yet unsigned band comprised of Taylor Kurz Tazewell, Benton Allen, and Wesley Maffly-Kipp has an outstanding folk, bluegrass, Americana, alternative-country indie sound and lyrical bent. Selections of their past music are available on their Bandcamp page. Taylor plays the accordion, kick-drum, tambourine, and does backing vocals, while Benton does lead vocals with a dynamic nasal twang, guitar and banjo, and Wesley rounds things out with bass, backing vocals and guitar.
The group lists their influences as “mountains, trees, friends, leaves,” among other things, and is named after a road and a cat. The sound and style even has an element of Eastern European folk music, with ample accordion, soul-searching dirge-like undercurrents played with rollicking gusto boosted by soaring harmonies and profound musical and lyrical flourishes.
“Our favorite kinds of music are usually bittersweet, music that can make one happy or sad or both. One of our proudest accomplishments is making people cry and dance at the same show,” the band writes on their Facebook page.
Patch’s members Taylor, Benton and Wesley are originally from North Carolina. Some time back Benton and Taylor moved to a cabin in Virginia to live the rural life and work on their music. They have known each other since middle school and played together since then. Eventually the decision to move to Austin, TX, came about.
“After we had been there for awhile we realized we had something we really wanted to share with the world, and Austin was the obvious choice, both for its burgeoning music scene and the fact that Wesley already lived there,” Taylor explained.
The upcoming EP is brilliant and sure to be a hit. Tracks “Eerie Zero Queen,” “Eternal & Naive,” “Molasses,” “Necromancer,” “Placement,” “Skull King,” “the Girl, Ghost & Trees,” resound with musical talent, lyrical profundity and that extra something that can’t be defined that makes music go from the merely auditory to a fully immersing life experience.
“The Girl, Ghost & Trees” launches quietly with acoustic guitar and begins, like lightning striking, to build up a kind of mesmerizing folk adrenaline, pounding as it conveys a meeting of the natural and supernatural. It brings up disturbing emotions and thoughts, but is strangely reassuring in its unsureness, with its heartfelt, mystified conclusion.
“We heard a sound in the woods/ Up the hill, over there/ A deer crying or a bear sighing/ Or the whining of the trees/ I looked around for the sound/ Up the hill, over there/ And what I found/ Set my heart so wild…”
The otherworldly track verges into the deeply philosophical at the end, musing on the relationship between the one who perceives and what they perceive, and how nature and her sounds and patterns mirrors our deepest thoughts and experiences.
Piece “Molasses,” pours along at a pleasing accordion-set pace. “So settle down/ My sickly-sweet/ For there’s more to dough/ than flower and yeast/ Do dare I rise?/”
Harmony and disharmony, rolling, momentum-building rhythm, tambourines and acoustic guitars come together into a front-porch toe-tapping experience, sort of like a late night talk about the nature of reality and love beside a bonfire in the late, starry night, with friends. The folk and indie influences abound, as Patch takes it to a new level on “Naive & Eternal.”
“Blades and daydreams/ Dangerous playthings/ Mama told us so… Oh mama please, how I want to be/ Eternal and naive/Oh, an angel on my shoulder/ Oh, a devil in my hand/ I’m tired of being older/ I’ll be older when I’m dead …
“We are here now/ And nowhere/ And child, so are you,” Benton sings in a solo finish.
In “Necromancer” the subject of unrequited love from afar that ends up transcending death is broached, as the song tells the tragic biography of a necromancer who is really just a romantic at heart.
“Long ago/ In a smaller world/ Lived a boy/ Who loved a girl/ And he idolized/ Her idle eyes/ But never met/ Her/ Days and he hoarded/ Her words that he overheard/ Though he was too afraid/ To say hello.”
Brilliant, eye-opening, compelling lyrics that draw the listener into fascinating, touching stories define the upcoming EP.
On Skull King mortality is laid bare. “Lay down your crown/ Oh skeleton king/… Let the truth of it/Wash the world clear… Is it a good thing/ A bad thing/ Or nothing at all?”
This colourful, soulful music of Patch is something the world could use a lot more of, and it’s the most unique, compelling stuff I’ve heard in some time! It is exciting to wait and see what the future will bring for Patch, and Country Chorus will keep you updated about their tour and EP.