Patsy, the new album from decker. (Brandon Decker) is a project loosely enveloped by the description of psychedelic desert folk, but it’s not an album, and neither is he an artist, which could be easily described in any one phrase. Deep and thoughtful, Patsy is very much a musical journey. It’s not about the destination, it’s about what you see, how you feel, and what changes within you as you walk along the path toward it. As a musical artist Brandon Decker has presented brilliant questions through his work, and the answers are in the asking.
This might sound evasively philosophical but Patsy is an album that you can truly get lost in, and that’s the beauty of it. It’s like a co-journey with Brandon and his friends going through personal, dark, and desolate spaces. Deep down this rabbit hole, you get so lost you forgot how you got there, you don’t know where you are, and you cannot find your way out. It’s subtly captivating. Patsy is an album that defines it’s own space and time.
It’s also music that is decorated with beautiful guitar work and excellent instrumentation, especially the tense performances by a stellar collection of bandmates and guests. This really is a musician’s album with each member really putting in the effort to make it “just right” whether that means playing it close to the chest like a gunslinger, or letting the tempo slip and shift into something unnerving and shapeless.
Following up 2013’s Slider and recorded at WaveLab Recording Studio in Tucson, Patsy is an old-school audio treat. The instrumentation and production converge into a collection of songs that feel like they have a purpose… or perhaps an immense inertial velocity that cannot be stopped. It’s clearly the work of a musical team that is able to go deep into their own personal spaces and return with hard-earned inspiration and perspective.
Patsy is also an excellent example of the music scene that is thriving right now, along with bands like The Lost Patrol, The Blueflowers and similar desert-dwellers Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray. Astoundingly good music is coming from small groups of super-dedicated people who are using new tech tools to bring a constantly-higher level of production quality to their work. With decker. these tools have allowed them to refine their mutual statement to a razor edge. It’s truly inspiring.
We were so curious about the people behind the project we reached out to Brandon, who graciously answered some questions for us.
RUST: Brandon, Patsy is really a fantastic album. To us, it feels like you had a real drive to express yourself here, like the songs were pushing to be heard all on their own. Did you feel like they were – perhaps the word here is – inevitable?
BD: Thank you! I am very happy with and grateful for this set of songs. I’d say, out of my five albums I’ve released, these were all written with the most intent, in a variety of ways. In the past, and even here somewhat, songs always feel in some ways like this thing that happens to me and I’m grateful for it. But here, I definitely set out with a focus for all of them and they felt a little more artistic and less personal than songs in the past have. But even then, they all kind of create their own space too. I don’t know about inevitable but I’ve thought alot lately about how songs and art just kind of come out of the ether.
RUST: Can you tell us a little about some of the people that really helped make Patsy what it is?
BD: There was a ton of personnel that helped make this album what it is, and I’m so grateful for the abundance of talent on it. Principally the main players: Kelly Cole (spacey guitars, percussion) Amber Johnson (Keys, synths) and Andrew Bates (Bass). But then Dan Allmond of the Phoenix band Field Tripp did some of the more aggressive guitar solos and Henri Benard added alot of percussion. On top of that a heap of people from the Tucson music community jumped in. Almost too many to name! Joe Novelli of Segrio Mendoza Y La Orkestra added some wonderful slide and trumpet parts, Steff Koeppen scored the string quartet on the track Patsy. The list goes on and on. Past that, the gentlemen from WaveLab – Chris Schultz engineering tirelessly, and Craig Schumacher putting his ear and mind on it. I was quite fortunate to have so much love given to me.
RUST: Is there any one person you want to thank for supporting you right now?
BD: Oh gosh, again, so many that to name one is to diminish so many others. I’m grateful that my son’s mom helps navigate our co-parenting with my strange music lifestyle.
RUST Magazine Very Highly Recommends Patsy, and though it won’t be available until February 17th, you can listen to some of the tracks right now, right here: https://soundcloud.com/deckermusic/patsy