Patterson on a roll with new album
Banff native Amelie Patterson is releasing her album Roll Honey Roll and kicking off a summer tour in her very own hometown. She’ll perform at Banff’s Wild Bill’s Saloon on July 4, with the album set for release June 24.
For the past few years, the 27-year-old songwriter has thrown herself completely into her musical career, touring Western Canada and across the country via VIA Rail’s Artists on Board programme and taken part in The Banff Centre’s music residency program.
She’s played venues all over Canada, including Toronto’s Canadian Music Week and Calgary Folk Festival, and is ready to share with the world her seven-song debut album.
Produced in Calgary by Will Maclellan, Roll Honey Roll features Brock Geiger (bass, drums) and cello by Clea Anais, but the rest of the music and journey behind the album is all Patterson.
The first single, “Tic Tac Blues,” has Patterson bare her soul and journey right off the bat.
“That is a mantra to me, that’s the newest song, and with ‘Lights Down Low,’ I wrote it in response to feeling like I was stuck and not getting anywhere and not giving myself credit for any of the stuff I had done,” Patterson said.
“My dad was very cool, he deals a lot with me having freak-out panic attacks.”
He explained to Patterson it’s baby steps. It’s important to look at the big picture, but also focus on the small picture and just you be you.
“With that, I’m justifying myself as an artist, it’s a reminder to myself to do what you do best and Roll Honey Roll is keeping it together.”
She understands a lot of musicians can be frustrated in the studio, so one of the things she did to avoid recording pitfalls was take suggestions from Maclellan.
“You don’t have the stress of feeling like you’re spending $1,100 a day and something’s not working or happening – the intimidation, intensity and pressure to make something work in the allotted time can really stifle a lot of creativity and you can really close your mind to trying new stuff,” Patterson said.
Try she did, though, exploring added choruses, electronica and exploring her vocal range. The production gives added layers to material most audiences have only heard Patterson play on her acoustic guitar until now.
“It can be hard to bring the live intensity, and like I said before, I never wrote those songs to be just for acoustic guitar,” Patterson said. “I had imaginations of the stories I would tell with them, and I’ve heard a majority of positive stuff, but some wish it was more acoustic.
“I hope I keep hearing that in my career, I’d love to re-imagine the songs and work with other musicians and keep rewriting them all – it’s great to be in the studio and have the opportunity to stretch out a bit and try new stuff.”
Luckily, she knew she was in a comfortable place recording at Maclellan’s family home, giving her the opportunity to try new ideas.
“That totally happened with me on ‘Tic Tac Blues.’ Will really wanted to put in another chorus and I thought it was too much of a good thing, you’re force-feeding people the chorus again; but he’s already looking at me sheepishly as he’s moving stuff around just to show me what it might sound like,” Patterson said. “I thought, ‘here we go’, I’m going to get crabby at them and bring negative energy to a fun and cool project that we’re doing, but it worked and it’s a pop song now, but it’s so fun.”
With her other songs, she says she typically writes in a conversational style due to her social butterfly ways.
“I talk a lot, and I talk to a lot of people. “Don’t Ask” and “Lights Down Low” are conversations and I definitely think there is a female vibe character throughout all the songs, even with the song ‘Witness’,” Patterson said.
“I remember my mom saying to me, ‘that sounds like a man’s song’ and I said ‘no, not in my mind’ – It’s sort of a powerful, unapologetic female perspective,” Patterson said. “When I’m performing, people will say after a gig I’m a lot smaller than they thought I would be. When I perform I try to bring out a very exaggerated version of an aspect of my personality because you sort of have to.
“These songs are already very close to my heart. I’m sure you can pick out that they’re personal songs, and I disguise them to some extent, so I try to draw from a strong female personality, an unapologetic female presence, because I’ve met a lot of women in my life that are like that and it’s an important place to go.”
Patterson will also play the Calgary Folk Festival this year, July 23-24.