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For Patrick Ames, his youth was marked with music, diving in deep at 14 when he began writing original songs. This trend continued into his college years and beyond, when he performed in the San Francisco music scene. All this occurred prior to joining the book publishing industry and putting his musical dreams to rest.
Now in his 60s, he has returned to his first love and released an EP amalgamating Latin, R&B, pop, and folk. In the middle of recording he ventured to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the Latin influences began creeping in. Indeed, several excellent vocals and guitar contributions on All I Do is Bleed are from Argentina.
Oddly-titled, but nonetheless endearing, is EP opener, ‘While You Were Making Babies’. Ames’s pop sensibilities are front and centre here, and very much of his time. Pseudo-doowop vocals wistfully climb down behind Ames’s regrets about a life not lived with a mystery partner. The “b-b-b-b-babies” refrain from the backing singers fits well harmonically but can be a little hard to take seriously.
‘I Want You’ opens on a droning chord while Ames’s semi-spoken, R&B style confessionals come pouring out. Though his voice is noticeably aged, the character and genuineness in the performance is captivating. Cue some slick flamenco lead lines as a farewell and you have a well-rounded tune.
True to the title, Latin flair defines ‘Te Amaba Locamente’, with quintessential syncopated rhythms from drums and more exotic percussion instruments. Silky, impassioned vocals flit across the background while Ames’s voice and tangoing guitar lines duel for space.
‘Queen Kae’, drearily led by Paulo Augustin Rzeszut’s tasteful guitar tones, melds with subdued gospel-y vocals to deliver a mournful atmosphere. No percussion element kicks in to shift gears – this is straight up Latin-flavoured melodrama.
Plenty of variety and experience are evident on this EP. All four songs are worthy of the work that went into them, though the delivery can be lacking at points. Regardless, Patrick Ames has plenty to be proud of here; his inter-genre blending is no gimmick and the supporting musicians are top notch.