Words by Casey Lodge
Calling all fans of the indie folk country rock genre (and I mean, there has to be a bunch of you); if you’re looking for someone to fulfill your need for a soulful songster, then Patrick James is your man. The Port Macquarie-born muso released his debut album Outlier in October last year, and is wrapping up the supporting tour this Friday at Pirie and Co. Social Club. I caught up with Patrick ahead of the gig to get the lowdown on touring with Boy & Bear, and what exactly Outlier means.
What does the title of your album Outlier mean, where did it come from?
Outlier can mean a few things really but for me it was to do with a book I was reading at the time of the recording. It talked about practice, the 10,000 hour rule and how it takes a long, long time to create something that you are completely satisfied and proud of. With this record that idea really resonated with me as a lot of the songs on it have been with me for some time and the challenge was making those songs the best version of themselves. For example there has been A LOT of arrangements of “Bugs” but the one on Outlier is the best the song can be.
Has the response to Outlier been what you expected?
Yeah, the response has been great. I mean the skies the limit with expectation but you have to be realistic and make sure you yourself are satisfied too. Like i said earlier, self producing and making sure the songs were the best version of themselves was one of the key goals during the recording phase. At the same time I think it's great to be able to create a body of work and share that with others. The beauty of it I suppose is that whilst I sing it from my perspective it is interpreted by others with their own perspective, everyone that hears it has a different reaction or finds a different meaning - that's a pretty cool thing. This record is a mixture of older songs that I had been saving to be on my debut album and some newer songs. My oldest fans had been waiting for some of those older songs like “Bugs” and “Kings & Queens” for a long time and their excitement was and is a pretty special feeling. I have a dedicated following and the way they have responded to the record I am very thankful and appreciative for.
How would you describe your sound and your music to someone who's never heard it before?
It's a blend of singer/songwriter, folk, country, indie with a sprinkling of rock. It's often been said it's perfect travellin' music, relaxing and heartfelt. Upbeat and stripped back. Without being too depressing there's a sense of yearning in the music with some triumphant moments.
It's the last couple of shows for you on the Outlier tour, how has it been? Any particular highlights?
It's been awesome! The support has been overwhelming especially in places like Geelong and Thirroul. Sydney and Newcastle were special shows. And just the amount of people singing along to the tracks was mind blowing. Looking forward to Adelaide to finish the tour on a high.
You've supported the likes of Boy & Bear, and Pete Murray in the past; how do these headline shows compare to those?
I suppose the main difference is that it's my show, it's my audience. When you're playing support even to those big artists it's more about turning people's heads and hoping to see them at your next headline. But on this tour it's about putting all those people you've met along the way in the same room. It's a pretty cool thing how it builds up over the years and everyone has their own discovery story.
What can we expect from your show on Friday?
It's my album launch tour so there will be plenty of tracks from the new one plus some oldies from my two EPs. Even a cover of one of Australia's greats! I'm playing with my full band too so they'll be helping me get everyone moving.