Pat Keen

Once you think you’ve got a handle on Pat Keen, he slips away, pivoting through a plethora of stylistic slip-ons — folk, country, lounge, jazz, Americana — proving to be an instrumental chameleon for our age. The songwriter has collaborated with a few familiar names, from Guerrilla Toss to clarinetist John McCowen but his latest finds him solo above the marquee. As he preps the new record, the first vinyl release on Island House, Keen proves as mercurial as ever. The album opens with a country countenance, slips through jazz shadows with the help of friends on clarinet, keys, steel, and brass, and inhabits corners of more than a few fragrant locales. I Saw A Bug has a lost soundtrack quality to it, a wandering heart that tows the listener through joy and jubilation, morning meanders, and evening strolls.

Pat, like labelmate Aaron Dooley, finds a balance between country and jazz, comfortable cousins along for the ride in Keen’s quiver. Ben Lester’s pedal steel sways in the loose figures of “Windy Day.” “Hopper” is full of wide wonder, and the album opens with the sunshine spill of “On The Dock.” Keen’s moods change with the winds, but with each new gust he’s blown confidently into comfortable waters. He steers the strains on “I Saw A Bug,” and in the process becomes as much an emotional conduit as someone like Steven R. Smith or Bruce Langhorne. The record offers a new chapter for Island House, and one that’s brimming with promise.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

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