Meghan Patrick is a country singer from the Black Grass scene east of Toronto, Ontario. Patrick, from Bowmanville, grew up on bluegrass, folk and country, all of which found voice in The Stone Sparrows. She recently signed to Warner Canada and has released her debut solo album titled Grace & Grit, a reference to her own rural upbringing, one explored on the title track which kicks off the party.
While there are noticeable bluegrass elements on some songs, “Nothing But A Song” and “Forever Ain’t Enough Time”, in particular, the album is more gracious with its embrace of modern country, and the genre’s emphasis on booming backbeats and rocking riffs. Lead single “Bow Chicka Wow Wow” falls firmly on the modern rock side of country. Patrick does however manage to pay tribute to those musical roots, both in place “Be Country With Me” and person, “Long Way From Waylon”.
While the album is also a long way from Waylon Jennings there is still a whole lot of grit caught up in all the grace, leather and lace. Even the presence of champion polisher Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger (co-writer and co-producer) can't clean all the Darlington dirt of Patrick’s well worn cowboy boots.
Lyrically Grace & Grit seems to draw from Patrick's own experience of surrounding herself with music from an early age. There are songs about songs, songs about singing, songs about music, songs about musicians, songs about records. Along with the shout out to Jennings there are shout-outs to Prince. It’s all very meta but only because she gets music, it gets her. It gets inside her and more importantly she gets inside it.
Although many of the tracks on Grace and Grit seem to be about Patrick's own life, there is one, "Still Loving You", which is obviously not and yet she makes it so believable it is as if she has lived the story herself, if there was an Oscar for singing she'd be a shoo-in for the golden statuette.
"Still Loving You" is a duet with Grammy nominee, Joe Nichols. It was co-written with Patricia Conroy, Zach Abend and Patrick, and is the highlight of the album. It’s a simple homespun tale, all gingham and horses at dawn, but it is a truth for every couple, or at least Patrick and Nichols sing it so.
Over keys, fiddle and pedal steel a couple realise their relationship is done yet the love still remains. The track is sung with such intent, such maturity, such understanding of the emotions around the frustrations of love and the loss of love, one finds oneself rooting for the couple to stay together.
Patrick and Nichols are not a couple but how I wish they were, how I wish the song had a happy ending. Surely a couple with such musical harmony can figure out a way for their love to survive. One can imagine just before the close of the final notes, they rush back into each other’s arms, kisses met, children were born, porches were hung with swings and in their old age, old hands, worn smooth from the other's clasp, join again in the evening light and they look into each other’s eyes, eyes that say, still loving you. Curtain falls, audience goes wild. It is the power of love and the power of voice in one heartfelt delivery. The song itself has some wonderful lyrically moments, deep emotions slide from the pedal and off the fiddle bow but it is Patrick who becomes the song.
Great singers inhabit a song and Patrick lives deep in the centre of this one. Maybe the two will get back together on the next album but on this one, If nothing else there is a happy ending on the album. Patrick has found her one true love, singing foot stomping tear jerking hell raising firefly chasing gritty and graceful country music songs.