Patrick and Tom are brothers, both officially releasing their new albums on the same day, at the same CD release show - Saturday, March 27 at the West End Cultural Centre. It would be easy to compare the two by virtue of those facts, but in reality, the albums are quite different. What they do have in common, though, is that each album is a well-crafted collection of songs put together by an accomplished artist.
Patrick’s Washed Out Roads pulses with energy and manages to improve on his critically acclaimed 2004 debut, As Constant As the Northern Car. His bio describes him as “roots-rock,” but the emphasis on this record is definitely the latter. From the jaunty opener Pill Store, to the lilting Cloud Formation and the guitar battle of If You’re Curious, Patrick’s piano-based songs are more straightforward than those on Northern Car. He slows things down on the title track as well as on the ballad Lois, which features haunting trumpet and female vocal lines.
Tom Keenan is probably better known in Winnipeg for his day job as an actor (most recently, he appeared in Sean Garrity’s controversial film Zooey and Adam), but his musical career dates back to 1996. Romantic Fitness, his debut album, is a song cycle about “the hopes and frustrations and sadnesses of trying to keep in romantic shape.” Produced with Matt Peters (The Waking Eyes) and Dave Quanbury (Twilight Hotel), the 10 guitar-based songs are charming and whimsical. Standouts include the simple, sweet 100 Hours and the rootsy River St.
Both Washed Out Roads and Romantic Fitness are solid, compelling discs you’ll want to listen to repeatedly. Check them out.