Patrick Watson

Patrick Watson


"The four formulate an exquisite balance of timeless pop-music artistry, jazz precision, indie-rock honesty and classical romance, with Watson's aching vocals and ivory-tickling at its core." Montreal Mirror, Sept. 2006


Patrick Watson is both a boy and a band, the former the latter’s namesake, but either way you cut it one of Canada’s most exciting and original up-and-coming acts. Their label debut, Close to Paradise, was just released in Canada on Secret City Records to widespread acclaim. They’re also fresh off big performances at both the Pop Montreal and Iceland Airwaves Festivals, and by many accounts were the toast of both with their big-impact live show.

On the one hand it’s impossible to ignore Patrick Watson as your classic crooning singer-songwriter—the charming young piano-player with the haunting voice and engaging all around presence. As Quebec singer Lhasa de Sela recently put it: “He’s truly one of the most creative people I’ve met my whole life. He has so much enthusiasm, generosity and freedom with his piano, his voice, his arrangements. He conjures up a whole world around himself.”

But on the other hand, there are three other incredibly strong musicians involved just beginning to enter their prime, both in terms of skill and contributing song ideas that give the band it’s diverse repertoire and deep sound. Robbie Kuster is arguably the best drummer in Montreal (and maybe the country) and between him and Mishka Stein on bass, the band has the ability to bolt from dreamy ballad to all out intricate rock assault and back again without blinking an eye. Simon Angell is among that rare breed of guitarist that can do more with one subtle and well-timed chord as others can with a whole song of throw-away notes. He can stand and slay with the best of them, but it’s when he’s patiently seated and kneeling at his arsenal of effects pedals that you’ve really got to be on your guard.

Word of their live shows is quickly spreading, with comparisons ranging from Pink Floyd and Sigur Ros to Jeff Buckley (to whom Patrick is often compared). Former Buckley collaborator Gary Lucas (who co-wrote “Grace” and “Mojo-Pin” with the late great) was so impressed by Watson at one of their late night Pop Montreal shows that he decided to join the band for their set the following night. Indeed, collaborations on-stage have become the norm for the band, with other recent guests ranging from members of Bell Orchestre, the Besnard Lakes, and more recently Islands, when Watson and co. were inviting to play the closing gala of the Iceland Airwaves festival.

Close to Paradise was produced by Patrick himself, with aid coming from both Jace Lasek at Breakglass Studios (Wolf Parade) and Jean Massicotte (Pierre Lapointe) and includes guest touches by Land of Talk's Liz Powell, Katie Moore, and Ninja Tune's Amon Tobin.

The band will touring extensively in 2007, including spots through the U.S. in support of what’s shaping up to be a big release for Close to Paradise outside Canada.


Close to Paradise (Secret City Records; fall 2006)
Just Another Ordinary Day (self-release; 2003)
Waterproof9 (self-released; 2001)