After years of toiling away playing the Blues across the Grand Strand Keith Patterson has very little to be blue about when it comes to his latest project.
With the release of his first solo record “Stone Cold & Blue” this spring the seasoned guitarist has gone from background player with the Refried Blues — and countless other local groups — to the chief songwriter behind the Keith Patterson Band.
“I was a sit in the back, play with the band kind of guy and then I would be writing these songs and folks were always like ‘That’s pretty good,’ but I didn’t think much of it,” says Patterson.
This new, solo project has ballooned in popularity since its release, receiving an outpouring of attention online, garnering airplay on more than 50 radio stations worldwide and selling out twice with online distributor CD Baby.
Though the project has been available since April, Patterson and crew never officially christened the album locally and will do so Friday Aug. 26 with a CD Release Party at Mama Rue’s Blues Garden, 9737 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island.
Patterson says he couldn’t have chosen a better spot for the show than the up-and-coming Jamaican Restaurant/music venue owned by his friend Marrue Bleau.
“She’s really building up a rep right now, not just for this town but out of town as well,” said Patterson. “That’s why when we wanted to do our CD Release Party there. It’s just a really cool atmosphere that reminds you of a little juke joint down in Mississippi and of course the food is fantastic.”
Myrtle Beach Music: Keith Patterson, right, with Keith Patterson Band vocalist Danny Korzelius
Bringing it together
Patterson had considered making his own music for years, but it wasn’t until he hooked up with longtime friend and fellow musician David Wright that the beginnings of “Stone Cold & Blue” came together.
Wright connected Patterson with Mark Kauffman, The entertainment director at Broadway at the Beach’s Crocodile Rocks Dueling Piano Bar, who listened to a few rough cuts of Patterson’s work and decided to open his home studio to Patterson’s project.
“He’s very selective about who he lets into his studio. He doesn’t advertise and doesn’t want to really. But he’s got his own place over there with all this top of the line stuff. The equipment is just off the hook,” said Patterson.
From there the pair — along with Wright — began working on arrangements for the record and looking for talent to fill out the sound Patterson wanted to create.
“I think I can hear the voice in your head and I want you to come down to Crocodile Rocks and hear it for yourself,” Kaufman said to Patterson.
One quick, yet impressive visit to the bar and all parties were sold on versatile piano player/singer Danny Korzelius as the soulful voice behind the Keith Patterson Band. They later added Patterson’s former Refried Blues compatriot John Taylor (Up Sppok Hill, Confliction) to the mix on drums.
Myrtle Beach Music: Keith Patterson Band "Stone Cold & Blue" (click to buy on CD Baby)The group recorded from August through January on “Stone Cold,” with Patterson and noted local producer Brian McKenzie mixing down and mastering the final pieces at McKenzie’s Music Factory studio on Seaboard Street.
“I was just blessed to have all these talented cats to believe in me and now we’re really like a family,” said Patterson, adding that all the entire team involved in making the record — including McKenzie — are still playing together as part of his live band.
Receiving a warm recepetion
Though Patterson was very proud of the work he and his band had put together, he says never had any expectations that it would get noticed the way it has.
“It’s caught me completely unaware. I did not expect this type of reception and I didn’t even realize it was happening until I started getting Facebook requests from people who said they just hear my song on the radio in Auckland, New Zealand,” says a still wide-eyed Patterson.
According to Patterson tracks from his record are being played on the airwaves of Blues and various format radio stations all over the world, including places such as Norway, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
With this new-found attention, Patterson caught the eye of a Greenville-based management company called Treeline Entertainment and is currently working with Texas-based booking agent Keli Pearce on securing an overseas tour as well as dates throughout Texas and up the east coast to his home state of Tennessee this fall.
“There’s a lot of legal stuff that has to happen to do something of this nature, but we’re excited to do it whenever it all comes together,” he said.
In addition, Patterson says his management has turned down a couple offers from smaller record companies and is waiting to see if a good opportunity comes up to sign with a label.
“Sony, Universal and Arista have contacted Keli,” he said.
Myrtle Beach Music: Keith Patterson
But as a further indicator that Patterson is more about the music than any of the gains that come with it, he lists one of his most recent accomplishments as being asked to submit a potential “Pick To Click” by DJ Bill Wax of B.B. King’s Bluesville station on Sirius XM Radio.
“To get Bill Wax and B.B. King behind you, even on something like that is huge,” he says.
But despite the building buzz behind his efforts, the ever-humble guitarist isn’t looking too far into the future.
“Between now and when we head out this fall I want to pick up more shows locally and just get the word out around town,” he says. “I don’t care if that record there sold 150,000 copies and is No. 1 in 25 states...if you put me in that corner with 25-30 people that are here to hear me play, I’ll take that all night long.”
Is this back-to-basics attitude and a genuinely humble demeanor that gives Patterson the confidence to let his efforts stand on their own and he hopes with the assistance of a strong online community support for his music will continue to grow organically.
“We just want the music to do the talking. When someone opens up that CD or listens to it for the first time online, that’s the whole story right in front of them,” he said. “I could go out and pimp what we’re doing all day, but the bottom line is if people don’t relate to the songs I’ve written it’s
not going to work.”