Pat Wictor
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Pat Wictor

Brooklyn, NY | Established. Jan 01, 1998 | INDIE | AFM

Brooklyn, NY | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 1998
Solo Folk Blues

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His strong voice, subtly reminiscent of John Denver or Michael Martin Murphey, introduces Heaven Is So High... and I'm So Far Down. The title track is melodic and majestic, and Pat Wictor is a virtuoso on acoustic lap slide guitar. His amazing talent is diversely applied to the country gospel blues of Fred McDowell and Gary Davis' "You Got to Move," his own bluegrass piece, "Rejoice in My Troubles," and the searing "Oh, baby" chorus of "Don't You Know Me Well." Wictor's vocal resonance and clarity of sound add a new dimension to Dylan's "Oxford Town." In the intriguing way that contemporary Christian artists deliver lyrics that can be interpreted both religiously and secularly, Wictor's material has that same special universal appeal. And there is absolutely no danger of the striking Native American images of the late Dave Carter's "When I Go" being lost when Wictor forcefully and beautifully places the words out there as he sings, "I will bellow like the thunder drum, invoke the storm of war/A twisting pillar spun of dust and blood up from the prairie floor/ I will sweep the foe before me like a gale out on the snow/And the wind will long recount the story, reverence and glory, when I go." - Dirty Linen, August/Sept. 2007


Waiting for the Water (RiskyDisc 004) has a folk feel that will thrill acoustic music fans. Pat Wictor, a New York City singer/songwriter/guitarist, delves into blues, traditional country, and spirituals, including a Civil War narrative along the way. He plays slide guitar lap-style and sings in a clear, unaffected voice. His performances are delicate, nearly evanescent--a daring and unusual approach for a blues singer who gives listeners fresh perspectives on such familiar material as Son House's "Death Letter" and Skip James' "Hard Time Killing Floor." Wictor's compositions "Sleep Easy" (the album-closing ballad), "Shake These Blues" (an uncharacteristically rhythmic blues), and "Love Is the Water" (a stunning capella "secular gospel" tune) are especially memorable.
-June/July '05, Issue #94 - Blues Revue


Lanky and just shy of six feet tall, with shoulder-length red hair and a goatee, Pat Wictor walks onstage and sits down. He places a Guild DV-52 flat across his lap and begins playing slide guitar. The sounds are snaky and sizzling. He sings in a steady and clear voice, sometimes displaying a riveting falsetto. Soft-spoken and articulate, in the 1930's he could have been a dust bowl preacher. The sermons, accompanied by the choir of his slide guitar, would have brought comfort to many a soul. The songs he sings, some original, some borrowed, connect with the history of a nation. The nation is America.....
....Pat states: ".....Having grown up outside the States for a chunk of my youth and spending years as an activist, taking the stance of the dissident, I'm somebody who loves my country enough to try to change it for the better. This has been an ongoing theme in my life--how to be connected with what it means to be an American. The process of digging into this older, deeply American roots music intensified after 9/11. Whatever it is in our country that produced that music that is so extraordinary, so timeless, so beautiful,....I want to be a part of that. I knew I didn't want to be an American simply by waving a flag and saying that 'America is the greatest.'"
--Richard Cuccaro, Acoustic Live, June '05.
Complete story at www.acousticlive.com/june.7.htm - Acoustic Live


"Waiting for the Water," the fourth album by New York-based Pat Wictor, showcases Wictor's masterful Kelly Joe Phelps-like lap steel guitar picking and blues-based roots. While he displays his songwriting skills with originals including the gospel-tinged title track, Wictor celebrates his influences with reverential renditions of tunes by Skip James, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Son House. His interpretation of "Don't Dig My Grave Too Deep," a song by Rich Deans about a Civil War-era soldier, leaves one haunted.
-April/May '06, Issue #123 - Dirty Linen


........Each one of Pat Wictor's releases contains a stunner of a song. 2003's Temporary Stay has Fred Neil's "The Dolphins." Once done by Tim Buckley as an ethereal wonder, the song is given an easy grounding in Wictor's hands, his transcendent lap slide guitar weaving a warm tapestry behind his elegant vocals. Waiting for the Water boasts his own nearly a cappella tent-revival-like gem "Love Is the Water," while the recent Heaven Is So High, and I'm So Far Down virtually shines due to his emotional rendition of the late Dave Carter's "When I Go." Throughout, the clarity of his voice is an interesting juxtaposition to the glorious grit of his musicianship. And there is an undeniable feeling that Wictor has mastered that necessary but often elusive balancing act of combining the practicality of being a working musician with the expression of sheer artistry. He manages to creatively absorb the work of others, leaving their musical intentions beautifully intact, while adding his own sonic signature to the mix. Some songs in his repertoire are presented straightforwardly and seemingly "as-written," such as Marvin Baumgardner's hymn "Gathering Flowers for the Master's Bouquet." Others, like his own "I Will Walk With You," are less-clear explorations that can be interpreted in ways both spiritual and worldly. Said Wictor, "I certainly hope that my songs have a universal appeal; I've worked consciously at that. I've tried to write and select songs that don't polarize the listener squarely into -- or away from -- a particular spiritual camp. I'm trying to do an end run around that, and perhaps provide food for thought and conversation. I hope people share enough common values that we can enjoy the same songs without having to share all of each others' assumptions."

Just how Wictor arrived at this enviable place in his career where he easily churns out recordings imbued with both spirituality and twang may be traced to his interesting early years. He was an American by birth living in Venezuela, the Netherlands, and England. (His father was an oil-industry worker). Wictor remembered, "Well, these early experiences had an impact in some roundabout and unexpected ways. Don't forget that I also lived in east Texas for a few years, and those years [1972-1976] were some important ones. Glen Campbell, John Denver, and Johnny Cash were all over TV, as well as Roy Clark on 'Hee-Haw.' Hearing and seeing all those musicians on TV as a kid stimulated my interest in music, and specifically in playing the guitar. I only learned later that they all had a great sense of melody and a grounding in 'roots' music.".......

[Excerpt from complete article] - Ellen Geisel, in Dirty Linen #134 (Feb/Mar '08)


Discography

"Sunset Waltz," 2008 CD
"Heaven Is So High....And I'm So Far Down," 2006 CD (#4 on FolkDJ)
"Waiting for the Water," 2004 CD (#4 on FolkDJ)
"Temporary Stay," 2003 CD

Guest appearances on CDs:
Greg Greenway, Standing on the Side of Love
Joe Crookston, Able Baker Charlie and Dog
Andrew McKnight, Something Worth Standing For
Spook Handy, Watcha Gonna Do?
Joe Jencks, The Candle and the Flame
Jud Caswell, Blackberry Time
Charlotte Kendrick, North of New York
Chris Chandler and David Roe, American Storyteller, Vols. 3 & 4
Abbie Gardner, Honey on My Grave ("You Got To Move")
Kim and Reggie Harris, Get On Board! ("Done Wit' Driver's Dribbin'")
Erik Balkey, My Sacred Heart ("If a Song Could Save Your Soul")
Todd Giudice, Little Known Secret ("Yesterday Is Simply Not Enough")
Ben Godwin, Skin and Bone ("Hook of Time")
Zoe Mulford, Roadside Saints
Sharon Goldman, Shake the Stars

Photos

Bio

Pat Wictor first burst on the folk and acoustic scene as an innovative slide guitarist known for fresh and memorable interpretations of traditional and contemporary songs.  He has since made his mark as a singer-songwriter penning lean and poetic songs that honor - and subvert - rural blues and gospel traditions. For seven years he toured as one third of Brother Sun, the powerful harmonizing trio with Joe Jencks and Greg Greenway, garnering critical acclaim, two #1 CDs on the Folk DJ charts, and a continent-spanning tour schedule.  His latest solo release, This is Absolutely Real:  Visions and Versions of Phil Ochs, was nominated for an Independent Music Award in their Best Tribute Album category.  


An American by birth, Pat's early years were spent in Venezuela, the Netherlands, Norway, England, and East Texas. His time abroad gave him the perspective of a world citizen, and set him on a journey to understanding America - and his own American-ness - through music. Through these early experiences, he gained an appreciation for taking different paths to arrive at the same destination.


Pat took a convoluted path to folk music, winding his way through rock, heavy metal, jazz, and free improvisation. He started with guitar, shifted to bass, moved to saxophone, and then quit music entirely before returning to guitar, and teaching himself lap slide guitar.  He organized and ran a songwriters circle in New York City for 13 years, mentoring and influencing dozens of songwriters.  An adept improviser and accompanist, he is sought after as a collaborator, sideman and session musician, with over 60 recording credits to date, including recent releases by Sloan Wainwright, Jon Vezner, Joe Crookston, and David LaMotte.  His monthly e-mail column, "A Few Choice Words," is read by thousands of subscribers. He is a music educator of note, teaching workshops , songwriting, interpreting, and rearranging songs, on slide guitar and other guitar techniques, vocal and instrumental improvisation, and various topics of music history.  
His CDs “This Is Absolutely Real” and ”Sunset Waltz" both reached #2 on the Folk-DJ charts, and "Heaven is so High" and "Waiting for the Water" both reached #4. 

HONORS AND CREDITS:

Finalist, New Folk competition, Kerrville Folk Festival;
Most Wanted, Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist Showcase
Nominee, Emerging Artist of the Year, International Folk Alliance
Nominee, Best Gospel Song, "Love Is the Water," Independent Music Awards
Nominee, Best Tribute Album, “This is Absolutely Real,” Independent Music Awards


Quotes and Testimonials for Pat Wictor:

"He manages to infuse an almost playful, yet tasteful, improvisation while maintaining a beautiful sense of melody........While he can fingerpick like the best of them, he is an absolute madman on the lapsteel. Unquestionably, anyone who has ever heard a Wictor show will permanently place him in the company of the best in the genre- Harry Manx, Kelly Joe Phelps and Ed Gerhard."

          -Frank Matheis, TheCountryBlues.com


"Pat’s Zen-like quality instantly puts the audience at ease, and I’m afraid it underestimates his skills. Like Joe Dimaggio could make a spectacular catch look rudimentary, Pat Wictor delights in sharing original and traditional songs in his unique style. His original songs are gaining a lot of attention and a number of artists are beginning to record him."    

     -Ron Olesko, WFDU Teaneck, NJ


“His performances are delicate, nearly evanescent—a daring and unusual approach for a blues singer who give listeners fresh perspectives on such familiar material as Son House’s “Death Letter” and Skip James’ “Hard Time Killing Floor.”  Wictor’s compositions…are especially memorable.”

       -Blues Revue


"Soft-spoken and articulate, in the 1930's he could have been a dust bowl preacher.  The sermons, accompanied by the choir of his slide guitar, would have brought comfort to many a soul."

    -Richard Cuccaro, Acoustic Live