Pat Haney

Ghost of Things to Come

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Although he's not adding much to the rootsy Americana genre, Pat Haney's sophomore release is a consistently rugged, well-written, and challenging album. With a gritty, emotive voice somewhere between Steve Earle and John Prine and a set of character-based story-songs Bruce Springsteen would have proudly added to The River, Haney plows his earthy mid-tempo rocking with an earnest intensity. Echos of Neil Young with Crazy Horse playing early Dylan add a toughness to Haney's sound that's entirely believable. Rather than sounding like his obvious influences though, Haney and his band carve out their own niche along this well-traveled road. With a hint of Southern twang and reverbed guitar, the singer/songwriter finds the heart of his protagonists and describes their pain, hopes, and frustrations in intimate, often compelling detail. Whether he's singing as an old man in "Nursing Home," or describing a middle-aged woman in her bathtub reflecting on life, or ruminating on an unhappily married couple where the wife "ain't able to eat a thing since daddy ate his gun" in "'Licts," Haney has a nimble, literate eye for detail. Electric guitarist Tim Krekel and drummer Pete Coatney along with other studio pros keep the sound stripped down but far from stark throughout. Haney sounds equally committed and edgy with the forlorn unplugged ballad "Out Last Night" as on the electrified Tom Petty-ish "Fifteen Years." He isn't pushing any boundaries, yet Pat Haney's sturdy talent, tight band and detailed, durable songs make Ghost of Things to Come a remarkably vibrant album that proves his talent is just starting to bloom.

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