Patrick Park - Everyone’s in Everyone
Record Label: Curb Appeal Records
Release Date: August 21, 2007
Somewhere between Bright Eyes’ folksy philosophical tendencies and Robinella’s misty cloaked country musings is a wide open field that suits Patrick Park’s rustic folk vestiges and country-pop ambiences. His latest album Everyone’s in Everyone, produced by Park with Dave Trumfio, Chris Stamey (Whiskeytown, Ben Folds, Yo La Tenga) and Rob Schnapf (Elliot Smith, Beck, Foo Fighters) is a collection of tunes played in the key of night-owls watching the sun going down the horizon as the surrounding vista moves at the poetic tempo of rolling tumbleweeds. Park’s music creates a vivid picture in the mind of the mid-west brimming with the solitude of open pastures where the only voice heard is the one coming from your own thoughts as objects moving at a lackadaisical pace go around you. The music is down to earth and acoustically plugged as the lyrics make you contemplate about what are we all working towards, because whatever it is, people don’t seem happier once they make it there.
The opening track “Life is a Song” was played during the final moments of The OC TV show’s finale, bringing into view Park’s lyrical themes about people working towards glory while glimpsing into the flip side of all those smiles where a deep, inconsolable sadness resides which cannot be washed away. Park observes in the song, “Well, life is a dream and we’re all walking in our sleep / You can see us stand in lines like we’re dead upon our feet / And we build our house of cards then we wait for it to fall / And always forget how strange it is just to be alive at all.” It’s odd how a songwriter who probably rarely watched The OC program if at all, could surmise so many people’s storylines in one song. Park’s lyrics reflect about human wounds and frailty and like all good folk songs, they leave the listener thinking about the truth in those statements.
In contrast to the smooth folk coils of “Life is a Song,” the track “Pawn Song” has a coarser edge in the guitar tones and the continuum of steady footed drum kicks make the melody recall of a somber military hymn. Once again, Park’s lyrics consume the gist of the song, “While the whole world is sinking / There’s some fools still thinking / There’s peace at the end of a gun / A pawn don’t know he’s a pawn / Or he’d draw a line in the sand / But when he’s got his finger on the trigger / A man don’t know he’s a man / He don’t know he’s a man.”
Aside from Park’s poignant lyrics he frosts his melodies with folksy-ridged drum sticks, country-façade guitar strokes, and sorrowful interludes brought into the mix on occasion by the harmonica shown on “Time for Moving On,” and spawning other textures like the woodsy timbres of whistles and Rhodes piano on “Life is a Song,” the slow whining dribbles of the pedal steel guitar on “There’s a Darkness,” the musky hues of the cello on “Saint With a Fever,” and Park playing a softly pitched pipe organ called celesta on “Here We Are” creating cottony fluffs through the melody. Park handles many duties besides lead vocals, songwriter, and producer on Everyone’s in Everyone, he also plays acoustic and electric guitars, whistles, harmonica, melodica, piano, and Wurlitzer organ. His songs are practically a one man show with all the instruments harmonizing with his lines and acting in accordance with his vocals.
Patrick Park seems like one of those musicians who if he had to make this album again, he would do it exactly the same way with his bruises showing and mid-west aesthetics worn on his sleeves. Maybe in a year or two time, he will be influenced by other factors that will seep into his music, but for now, he is well suited for pure country-folk cloths like a country-bard who lives day by day with his guitar in his hands playing to crowds on the sidewalks and street cafés similarly to the way Bob Dylan, Rufus Wainwright, and Joni Mitchell started. All three musicians share in making rustic folk melodies with thought-provoking lyrics whose meanings relate to crowds of people.