Pat Wictor

Pat Wictor

 Brooklyn, New York, USA
SoloFolkBlues

Folk / Blues Singer-songwriter, lap slide guitarist, improviser. Performing solo
and duo with vocalist Deborah Latz.

Biography

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

Lyrics

Heaven Is So High

Written By: Pat Wictor

I can't hear the beating of the angels' wings
I don't hear no chorus of the angels sing
Got a head full of worries in this city full of sounds

Heaven is so high and I'm so far down
Heaven is so high and I'm so far down
Will the arms of heaven reach all the way to the ground?
Heaven is so high and I'm so far down

I can't see the face of the king and his crown
I don't see the light of truth shining all around
Sometimes all I see are shades of gray and brown

Heaven is so high and I'm so far down
Heaven is so high and I'm so far down
Will the arms of heaven reach all the way to the ground?
Heaven is so high and I'm so far down

I'm thirsty at the river, I'm hungry at the feast
I've tasted the divine and it tastes bittersweet
I will do my duty, but I'm crying to be found

Heaven is so high and I'm so far down
Heaven is so high and I'm so far down
Will the arms of heaven reach all the way to the ground?
Heaven is so high and I'm so far down

Whiskey Vacation

Written By: Pat Wictor

Daddy comes home late and unties his shoes
Sits in the rocker and turns on the news
I run upstairs and leave Momma with him
With his tumbler and rocks, and his bottle of Jim

I hear his voice, talking on 'bout his day
And Momma pretends she's got nothing to say
After supper there won't be too much conversation
Daddy is goin' on a whiskey vacation

Whiskey, Whiskey vacation
In the kitchen downstairs, Momma's pacing
And I try to play quiet, but my hands are a-shakin'
Daddy has gone on a whiskey vacation

The good nights were quiet, but some nights he'd be
Badmouthing Momma, then he'd start in on me
When he gets on a roll, three sheets to the station
Daddy is gone on a whiskey vacation

Whiskey, Whiskey vacation
And I'm shut in my room and I'm prayin'
But God, he don't answer, and all Momma's sayin'
Is Daddy has gone on a whiskey vacation

Now Daddy, you see, was the drinker next door
He always provided, we never were poor
He never lost his job, and never raised his hand
Respected by all, as an upstanding man

For years I have pondered, what makes people drink
The demons that haunt them, and make 'em feel weak
Hit the bottle myself, but stopped in trepidation
To keep from being lost on that whiskey vacation

Whiskey, Whiskey vacation
There's a choice every day that I'm making
So my sons and my daughters will never be saying
Daddy has gone on a whiskey vacation
Daddy has gone on a whiskey vacation

I Will Walk With You

Written By: Pat Wictor

I am owner of no light, and I cannot be your guide
My eyes cannot see through the unknown
I will sure and steady stride through the darkness at your side
I will see to it you do not go alone

CHORUS:
I will take upon my shoulders your worries and your woes
I will walk with you down your darkest road
On your passage into shadows, you will not go alone
I will walk with you down your darkest road

When the briar and the thorn on your path are overgrown
And the dark heart of the wood is still ahead
I will swing the woodsman's blade, for to clear the brambled shade
And make passage for your tired feet to tread

CHORUS

When at last your weary head takes the earth for its bed
I'll watch over your sleep until dawn
But now hearken to the trees, you can hear the night-birds sing
Sing a song for wandering souls far from home

CHORUS

I will walk with you down your darkest road

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

Set List

Up to 120 minutes of music. Song selection currently includes:
"That's the Way It's Gonna Be" (P. Ochs / B. Gibson)
"Whiskey Vacation" (PW)
"Thick-Skinned Blues" (PW)
"Eventide" (PW)
"Song of Songs" (Pierce Pettis)
"Heaven Is So High" (PW)
"Rejoice In My Troubles" (PW)
"Don't Dig My Grave Too Deep" (Rich Deans)
"Love Is the Water" (PW)
"Hard Time Killing Floor Blues" (Nemiah "Skip" James)
"Where Did You Go" (PW)
"Raise My Voice and Sing" (PW)
"Gentle Arms of Eden" (Dave Carter)
"Train I Ride" (trad., inspired by Fred McDowell)
"Sugar Baby" (trad., inspired by Dock Boggs)
"Death Letter Blues" (Eddie "Son" House)
"Sleep Easy" (PW)
"I Will Walk With You" (PW)
"Shake These Blues" (PW)
"Gathering Flowers for the Master's Bouquet" (M. Baumgardner)
"The Dolphins" (Fred Neil)
"Death Letter" (Son House)
"Oxford Town" (Bob Dylan)
"Ghost Radio" (PW)