Generational talent PATRICK CAREY presents ‘The Ride Out.’ Profound. Seductive. Dark. Lavish.

OUT of the city of Memphis comes the monumental eight track album, ‘The Ride Out’ from Patrick Carey’s project, OUT ON THE EAVES, a majestic work, and the perfect antidote to the city’s psychosis.

Awash with rich pedal steel, spiritual strings, and desert-scape acoustic guitars, the songs soar, showcasing Carey’s ability to weave his tales together with Dickensian charm, and an eloquence worthy of America’s greatest storytellers.

But he’s much more than a singer-songwriter, he’s a skilled wordsmith, a poet setting his fables to music.

“I totally agree with that,” he said. “Music is like the tangible near by-product of the poetry to me. I started with words when I was young, I carried a notebook from the age of eight, so I have stacks and stacks of books in boxes collecting dust, pages of scribble and garbledy wordplay.

“I picked up a guitar, my mom’s 1970 Yamaha, that was around the house when I was about 15, but I don’t really consider myself a grand guitar player. Every time I pick it up I feel like I’m relearning it. I don’t practice, just write. I write when I have the time, and it comes out in these strange waves, the words are typically the driving force.”

An album of a thousand tender parts, many offer subtle hints into Carey’s myriad of influences, but those hints disappear abruptly, replaced by a sound of his own making.

“My older sister when I was living in Chicago was really active in the scene and she spoon fed me a bunch of great stuff growing up. By the time I was ten I was addicted to The Cure, and also Depeche Mode came out around then with ‘Violator,’ and you know it was a mixture of that and the Grateful Dead, Neil Young, ‘Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, so that was kind of my early stuff.

“But later Athens definitely had its handle on it a little bit, it’s somewhat of a small college town surrounded by Georgia countryside, there’s a lot of open pastoral space, really lovely and calming, lots of cicadas and night sounds and a peaceful place to sit on the porch and ponder whatever dreams you concocted. It’s a great place to get lost in that too and if you don’t watch it, you get lost in it for too long”

Part dark, new Americana, part psych folk, but always 100% Carey, ‘The Ride Out’ at times also surprises with traces of early shoegaze.

“I’ve been enjoying that for sure, I think it comes naturally to my wavelength to where I’ve come from. I guess taken back to what my early influences early on would have been, it was very much a mixture of like, ‘Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me,’ and ‘Disintegration.’ Like I said, The Cure was in my life from the age of ten, then it got peppered in with Gram Parsons and Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, all the greats came post that, so it’s interesting now later in my life when I’m back creatively fruitful and working creatively, that the marriage of those things make sense.

“I was in Chicago until I was about 15, ended up in Virginia, then landed in Georgia around 17 or so, dropped out and moved to Athens and stayed there for about 20 years. I moved around a lot as a kid so getting to Athens and getting that small village that I’d always been looking for, I just kind of set down roots there.

“I ran my twenties and thirties there and it’s a bubble of a town, just brimming with creatives, musicians, it’s a total fairytale town especially the way it used to be, I think it’s less so now, but it was really isolated, and everyone played in everyone’s band. It had its history, the B52s, Pylon, REM, and everyone knew the environment, but we were all stuck in our own little constant. It’s a Peter Pan town, so I stayed there until I’d outgrown it, I just didn’t really know that I had.

“I ended up in Memphis for a job opportunity that I couldn’t land in Georgia. I’ve got kids and it was appealing, and I think I was just ready for something brand new, and I didn’t know much about Memphis other than the history. I had the opportunity to move to Nashville or Memphis for this job and I chose Memphis just because I knew less about it. I knew Nashville, and I knew I didn’t want to be there.

Carey’s poetry rises to the fore on album opener, ‘Shore Up Your Roof,’ a song hinting at the claustrophobia of the lockdown years, but which upon closer inspection, reveals itself to be an entirely different beast.

“It was written during that time, and I was hoping to not really date it by the pandemic because I think it was such a universal emotion we all struggled with anyway.

“For me, that song is kind of a love affair with my own home, with my own space finally in life, and that home being a psychic place as well, and the house as an organism and as a relationship.

“So, I think the ‘Invisible seat at the table,’ and ‘Carving the cherrywood charms’ lines are like a consistent gesture to know that to have appreciation for the presence of beauty and love in your life. It can be taken literally and applied to missing a lover, missing a family member, your counterpart, or anything like that. But I think for me it was really an assertion of a decision to be grateful, express gratitude and love in practice daily.”

Opium Pudding’ hypnotises with its Lennon, ‘lost weekend’ vibe, the rhythm of the drums seizing the listener, marching them towards the eerie, hazy, mystical ending.

“That’s an interesting comparison. The ‘lost weekend’ is kind of a proper term for it, that tune to me is like being faced with opportunity to make a mess, and instead kind of entertaining the idea and taking the other direction, that one’s a favourite.”

There’s an intense ending to ‘The Ride Out.’ Three songs – different in structure – all featuring a powerful ending. Perhaps a skill Carey has looked to perfect over time?   

“Great question. Maybe because [track six]The Ride Out’ is word-based, its narrative, and I want the listener, anybody who is finding joy or a place in this music, I want them to be able to circle back to the story as soon as it’s over and relive it, retrace it, and have a relationship with the music, the words, and the story that it tells, so maybe that’s a component of why subconsciously I was maybe giving them a springboard to circle back.

“With ‘Geodes,’ I had a debate with myself whether or not I wanted to pursue it as two separate tunes. I’d had kind of an ending for the first half that was totally different, and I couldn’t separate them. They are the same storyline and try as I might, I think maybe I was thinking more outside of what the song needed rather than what the listener might want, and at the end, what the song needed won out.

“The second half of ‘Geodes’ is one of my favourite sounds that I got on the album for whatever reason, it’s thick but it’s got a bleakness to it and a drive and a beauty. I was really pleased with how that ending turned out for the second half of that song.”

The layers of ‘Complete Circuits’ herald the album’s closure. A compelling song, its rhythm repetitive, built around a soaring string section, the perfect foil for the song’s intimate, dual levels.

“The prayer layer part was a direct incantation to my wife. I sat down, I wrote that very, very shortly after we came together. Sat in front of her and just wrote it. And that tune, you know being end of the record, you’ve come through the transformation that occurs throughout the narrative of the album, it’s really literally a vow to realign yourself with the light and the love that you deserve and that you know that life has available if you’re open to it.”

Carey debuted the songs at Bar DKDC, Memphis. He appeared at ease, at home on stage, the songs transferring well to the live environment, but there’s bad news for anyone expecting an album promoting tour.

“That was the first time I played live in Memphis, and it was the first time I played live in almost eight years, I enjoyed it, but I have no touring intentions. I’m a homebody, I like being at home with my wife and we have a six-month-old now, and I like writing and creating more than I like hitting the road and eating granola in the van.

“There was a period of my life when I really liked it and I think I caught myself and I was like, ‘man, if I continue down this path it could get a little dicey,’ and I just chose something different, and touring is also a horrible way to make a living especially now the bottom has pretty much fallen out.

“But another component to that is Matt Stoeseel, my pedal steel player and auxiliary guitar player on the album, he’s my best friend, still lives in Athens and tours most of the year with Faye Webster, so him not being readily accessible for live shows definitely changes my enthusiasm for it.

“I think I’ve come to terms with the fact I write really well alone – and we collaborate Matt and myself – but I like to have control of it, and I came to peace with that, but one thing Matt and I were talking about, I think we’re probably going to play like once a year.”

‘The Ride Out’ was mixed at Memphis Magnetic Recording Co with Grammy nominated, Scott McEwen.

“I tracked and recorded everything at home by myself in my home studio on very modest gear. I had pre-mixed it about as far as I could take it and was just getting lost in it. A friend suggested that I bring it to Scott, and I approached him to help me mix the record and finish it.

“I took all my work there and he loaded it up, ran it through the tape machines, through his gear and the board and we co-mixed it. He gave me a spaciousness and a balance, he’s a stereo field master, EQ and stereo field. That’s just something that as a writer I’m not thinking about, and if I’m producing my own work, it’s hard enough to get just quality takes on your own. I enjoy it, it’s fun, but then being responsible for carving out tiny frequencies? I don’t have the band width for that, so he’s just incredible as far as stereo spaciousness goes, really blew me away.

“Also, he’s a great bullshit detector. I mean he’s honest and our relationship grew close, very fast, and there was a trust and a respect, we could be really open and work together fluidly. That’s grown a lot after the album – and the recent single – it’s a pleasure working with him, he’s awesome.”

(New single: Gardening Light)

The Ride Out’ is one of the most personal collection of songs I’ve heard in many a year, Carey exposes his soul, and the result, in equal measure, is magnificent and deeply moving.

“I’m so pleased to hear that. That’s what makes it unique and personal – but also less marketable. It’s not meant to grab you like, “Oh man, that’s a summer banger, it’s going to be on everyone’s boat while they’re drinking this year,” it’s just not what I do.

“’Slowburners’ are where it’s at. I grew up on albums, just the relationship you build with a slow burning, thick spiritual record that’s like nothing else, and I didn’t want to do anything less than that. It’s pretty bare and wide open, and I felt comfortable at that point sharing what I needed to.”

Memphis may well be music’s ground zero, its ghosts touching all who visit, but ‘The Ride Out’ announces to the world, the future of the city is in more than capable hands.

May hellfire and eternal damnation rain down on those who find themselves blind to the beauty of this imposing work of art.

Purchase ‘The Ride Out’ : Red Curtain Records

(With contributions from Matt Stoeseel (Fay Webster, Will Johnson, T Hardy Morris), mixing by Grammy nominated Scott McEwan (Elvis Costello, JD McPherson), ‘The Ride Out’ was mastered by Jesse Magnum at Glow Recording Studio in Athens GA.)

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