Album Review: Matt Patershuk – If Wishes Were Horses

Out in the depths of rural Canada, a long stretch out from creative hubs like Toronto and Ottawa we find the unique craftsmanship of Matt Patershuk, an Americana and country artist with a flare for the kind of ballads that you can feel resonating deep within your heart.

If Wishes Were Horses is whimsical and occasionally moody look at modern-day Americana music. Not content with sticking to such generic country stereotypes as pickup trucks and beer, Patershuk sings about the little things in life although as a man who spends his time corralling livestock for the most part you might not always feel a complete connection with the concepts. Irrespective of his chosen topic at the time, each song on If Wishes Were Horses is perfectly and adeptly crafted and presented to the world. Polished time and again with his musical partner Steve Dawson, an award winning string player, it’s a beautiful blend of soul and rock with just that little shake of emotion that see’s Patershuk going through a range of concepts from love to loss and also allows for the pure and whimsical rocky stylings that he brings to life in songs like Horse 1 (For Bravery & Good Fortune), a song so deep, resonant and moody that you could confuse it with the work of the likes of Jace Everett.

Drawing influence from around the globe and artists through the ages Patershuk has lived a life within the rural fringes that has turned him into the ultimate troubadour, a man who works for his living and works harder for his art. It’s one of the refreshing elements to his work, the fact that even if you can’t get involved in the equestrian elements, everything else is so easily identifiable. His messages are carried to you by a voice so deep and resonant that it almost sounds like the movement of tectonic plates. There is something both ancient and timeless to it and as Patershuk sings you can’t help but let his mellow vocals melt into your heart. Patershuk carefully brings blues into a more modern and contemporary light as he takes timeless classic elements and stitches them to his own life, both good and bad to create a stunning landscape of earnest and tender songs.

If Wishes Were Horses is a swift and charming album that flows like satin; smooth and sultry but there’s something more than that, with Patershuk’s softly gravelled voice flowing over the top like whisky over ice. It’s a caring and emotive album that blends old and new alike to form a marvellous collection of songs.

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Review by Joe Knipe


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