Patrick Herek
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Patrick Herek

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"Glory Avenue review"

One can hear the traces and ghost traces of many songwriters in Patrick Herek's songs. However, he didn't have to fight for his identity among them; he merely listened to their voices, nodded, and wrote his own songs. To say that this Brighton, MI, native's recording debut is quirky would be an understatement. After all, few tunesmiths compose so eloquently or ironically about medical school. Backed by Ann Arbor's Original Brothers and Sister of Love, Herek indulges a fascination for the odd, the overlooked, and the absurd, with a humorist's eye and the witty voice of a poet who writes limericks. But writing song lyrics are not Herek's strongest suit, as evidenced by the opener, "Demonic Piano." One can hear traces of everyone from Randy Newman, Billy Joel, and Harry Nilsson in his opening four. In a song that details the fascination and obsession of children who have a primal need to beat on the family piano, the poet Joel of "Piano Man" meets a Midwestern lyricist's heart and the tenderness of Schmilsson and turns in a tender meditation on musical and youthful obsession. Accompanied only by his piano on "Could I Ever Let You Down," Herek offers a scathing payback to someone who's made his life a living hell. It's full of sarcasm, twisted wit, and awesome extended minor-chord voicings that have an utterance of their own. The straight-ahead singer/songwriter rock of "Round and Round" is a welcome respite from the bile even though it's a wry, self-curated victim's view of modern (sub)urban life. Again, with its prancing, regal piano and the steadiness of Scott McClintock's bass, the track would be a rant; instead it's a musical wander through the postmodern jungle through the eyes of a frightened, angry misanthropic protagonist. While it's true that some of Herek's work comes off as being a bit precious, his plaintive signing voice and truly gorgeous musicianship offering lushly sympathetic treatments of his subjects carries his occasionally awkward words. Perhaps the most direct and moving track on the record is "Untouchable," with its shimmering church organ minimalism and acoustic guitar frame courtesy of Timothy Monger. Emily Stoops' cello anchors this love song firmly in the center of a cracked but open heart, full of light that has been informed by personal and cultural darkness. There are so few sad love songs being written today with this kind of honesty and unapologetically romantic ambition that it wears its intentions all over itself in Technicolor. The piano strolls out the verses with grace, and a faltering hope that the listener will feel the protagonist's impure intent: to win back that which is lost, to keep present that which has not already passed. As debut albums go, this one is quite fine; it's full of small mysteries and cleverness that bears repeated listening. - All Music Guide


Glory Avenue (LP) 2003



Patrick Herek is a 30 year-old rock pianist/vocalist hailing from southeastern Michigan and now living in Chicago, IL.

A promising rising star in the Ann Arbor, MI music scene in 2003, Patrick Herek’s career as Tori Amos’s male alter-ego was tragically derailed by his matriculation into a four-year emergency medicine residency program in Chicago. He made nary a peep in musical circles during this time. But now, in 2008, like the fattened bear emerging from a winter's hibernation, he is again lurching on the piano bench, rabidly composing upon the fury of musical themes burning through his head. This tunesmith is ready to bring his unique craft back to the public.

Before putting his music career on-hold, Patrick Herek spent one year locked up in a smoky tar-laden apartment writing songs that would eventually culminate in the release of his debut LP, “Glory Avenue”. Combining his upbringing on classically-trained piano with his penchant for musicians like David Bowie, Jeff Buckley, and Ben Folds, he spun songs that “indulge a fascination for the odd, the overlooked, and the absurd, with a humorist's eye and the witty voice of a poet who writes limericks.” His style of music mixes rock and folk with occasional flourishes of early 19th century classical. Always with an emphasis on good melody, his music strives to capture the beauty in subjects whether weighty (lost love) or mundane (EKG interpretation). An All Music Guide review of “Glory Avenue” concluded, “as debut albums go, this one is quite fine; it's full of small mysteries and cleverness that bears repeated listening.”

Patrick Herek is excited to return to his musical roots and looks forward to performing his new generation of songs across Chicago and beyond.