Gramercy-born singer/songwriter Patrick Sylvest remains firmly rooted to his beloved home state on his third effort, Lonesome Troubadour.
With an acoustic style that blends classic Americana/roots genres and showcases his impressive finger-picking abilities, he extols Louisiana’s summertime pleasantries (“ice cold beers and warm sunshine”), takes a rollicking joyride through its dance-happy cities (think Tom Rush doing a hokier regional version of “On the Road Again”), and bemoans that “windbag houseguest that just won’t leave” about Hurricane Isaac. The arc of the album begins with the sunny optimism of “Learn to Fly” only to fall to the depths of the grim resignation as “I’ll give you all my heart and soul, ‘til I can’t write another note” wearily concludes the final cut.
The strongest tracks are the ones that incorporate diverse stylistic influences and instrumentation: the propulsive rhythm guitar and piano flourishes of the rockin’ “Louisiana Traveling Jones,” the gospel-style choruses and snappy staccato chords in “Ode to Rans McGaskey” and the spirited trad-jazz number “Have I Told You?,” which features a clarinet and sounds like you’d hear on a night at Fritzel’s.
Sylvest at times conveys a whisper of Gordon Lightfoot at his most wistful, and, given his knack for merging genres, it would be interesting to see what he would do with a tenser, rock-leaning rhythm section.