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begging her graces
Those who speak slowly have more time to think. Everything that Pat MacDonald does, he does with thought, he composes his sentences as carefully and thorough as his songs. He describes his new album "Begging her graces" as "the album of love". He is not living in a steady relationship at this very moment but "I loved each and every person that I wrote a song about. Every song is about a living, non-fictional person".
"Whisky Bottle" is about a woman that "wanted to kill herself with the help of a lil too much alcohol. Many thought I´d do the same but I´ve withstood the drugs and booze". A thoroughly interesting character is also "Severine", a Belgian diva that has the words "Fuck Culture" tattoed across her lower back and enters the stage, scantly clad in chains and feathers. "OK, I´ve allowed myself some artistic freedom on that one but she´s the type that COULD do all that. She´s stone cold on the outside but sugary sweet on the inside", MacDonald grins sheepishly. The title "Love me at a distance" is about the paradox that some relationships will only work over a geographical distance but "they have horrible impact on my phone bills", moans MacDonald.
An important catalyst for the intimate sound of the album was producer and multi-instrumentalist John Parish (PJ Harvey etc.). "We had met a bunch of times before and had written together. He offered to produce my next record and I took his word for it. Jon plays drums and different other stuff, he really knows what suits the songs."
At this time, he´s going through some changes, claims Pat, he had recently chosen Barcelona as his homebase. "I still have a trailer in Texas but I´m rarely there. Barcelona is a great place! I have a lot of friends here and can be alone at the same time; both seems to work out better than anyplace else in the world."
A new experience was also meeting labelmate Chris Whitley, that recently released his album Dirt Floor on ulfTone music. "Chris and I went on tour together, without knowing each other the least bit. After a while we really developed a lot of respect for one another. He was the headliner and helped me like an older brother even though I´m his senior."
Pat MacDonald has new wind in his sails, that not only pushed Begging Her Graces over the cliff but also helped him find new ambition. With a wink, he utters his three wishes for the future: "I want to write the title-tune for a James Bond movie; I wanna do a duet with Polly Harvey and I would like to form a secret society, an experimental group in which art and politics unite and that creates a bang just like in the sixties."
Begging Her Graces (Ulftone Music)
It always seems as if Pat MacDonald isn't quite telling us the whole
story -- that the ex-Timbuk 3 principal is holding something back, a bit of
information that gives him the advantage. His songs shudder with a dark
intensity, sung by a knowing voice fronting a formidable wit. And the
literary acrobatics are only half the story; the music on this European
release, enhanced by producer John Parish and many other contributors, is
both delicate and defiant, an unusual depth for the traditional
instrumentations, and a strange familiarity with lute, varija, and
archilaud. Opener "Whiskey Bottle" starts things off on a typically
contradictory note: hope and despair in the same breath. The album comes
alive with "Little Dark Angel," a horribly catchy melody, the sweet-hot
juxtaposition of plunky banjo and electric guitar the perfect foil for the
vocal play between MacDonald's morose mid-tone and Lidia Pujol's lilting
backup. Solo acoustic numbers glide off full electric numbers, the remainder
of the album demonstrating a wider range of sounds than his last release
...Sleeps With His Guitar. No clutter, though, only the realization of ideas
and melodies. "Severine" is disarmingly straightforward and sincere, "Space
Kitty Blues" is a nutty romp -- the contradictions just won't leave you
alone. There's a lot Pat MacDonald hasn't told us -- not yet, anyway.
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