Album Review – Pat Reedy’s “Make It Back Home”

It’s the simplicity of Pat Reedy’s songs that’s the genius, not the sophistication. It’s the ease at which the melody and rhythms seep into your flesh that makes the music so immediately gratifying. And Pat Reedy delivers it all so confidently and assured because there’s no cosplay involved, and no insincerity to shield the audience from. He sings what he lives and he lives what he sings. Reedy is symbiotic with his music.

Pat Reedy is the kind of real deal that many of the country artists in east Nashville, south Austin, and other places try to emulate, but will always be at arm’s length from. He’s a born and bred road dog with more stories and miles than most. He’s a blue collar hero who’s bid out jobs and worn hard hats all across the country and a few places overseas, from the smallest repair, to working on skyscrapers. When Pat Reedy opens his mouth to sing, it’s like a ghost from 60 years past takes over.

It was Pat Reedy appearing in Wyoming that first inspired Luke Bell to seriously pursue music. It’s Pat Reedy who many fellow independent performers cite as a modern day influence. It’s not in spite of his relative obscurity, but because of it that Pat’s been able to prioritize the right things in his music and maintain his passion and grounded nature. With a gas can with a hole cut in the top for a tip jar, he’s traveled around and kept it up close and personal with his fans, and with life in forgotten America.

Pat Reedy’s new album Make It Back Home was produced by John James Tourville of The Deslondes, and you can tell with the way the recordings come with just enough of a faraway feel to give you a haunting, nostalgic feeling, but not in a way that obfuscates the words or emotions emanating from Reedy and the respective players, all of whom take such pride in how they rendered these songs. It’s like this album lives in an old sepia photograph—the kind that falls out of a worn leather suitcase when you pick it up to inspect it at a yard sale.

Make It Back Home is about traveling the highways and byways of America, and yearning for home. The album has been a long time coming for Reedy. It’s been in the can for years, but couldn’t find a proper home. The jokes on all who passed it up putting their emblem on it, but that’s water under the bridge. It’s here now, though long time Reedy fans may already be familiar with some of the songs.

The title track “Make It Back Home” has been swirling out there for a while, but the revolving guitar parts and Pat Reedy’s earthen delivery never get old. Reedy originally released “Tallest Man in Tennessee” back in 2020 when he was helping to build a massive hotel in downtown Nashville, and was inspired to write an ode to the working man while the host hotel for Americanafest across the street buzzed with industry.

One of the most important tracks from the album also happens to be one of the best. “Should You Ever” has a great, swaying, ’50s-era swagger to it, and was actually written by Pat Reedy for Luke Bell who passed away tragically in 2022.

“He was still alive but not really talking to any of us here in Nashville,” Reedy says. “He had had a mental health crisis and just went off down the road of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, shutting a lot of us out in the meantime. I guess it is too late for Luke now, but hopefully it isn’t for someone else.”

Reedy performs “Should You Ever” in an upcoming documentary about Luke Bell, and the song also reminds you of some of the songs of The Deslondes, who deserve their own credit for inspiring and supporting Luke Bell, and lending to his sound, just like Pat Reedy.

No doubt, the throwback, faraway sound of classic country is something lots of folks are picking up on these days, and some are finding great success with. But it comes more naturally to some performers, while others are more personally responsible for this influence rising from the ashes of what country music once was. Pat Reedy is one of those responsible parties, and Make It Back Home might be the best specimen of Pat Reedy music yet.


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