avg 3 2018
Ray of Hope’s eleven songs dive deep into characters whose lives haven’t worked out as planned. Backed by a wall of solid harmonies woven throughout with fiddle, mandolin, and acoustic guitar, Jim Patton and Sherry Brokus passionately play their original music in the Byrds/Band style of acoustic folk rock.
Ray of Hope features the same extraordinary ensemble assembled on their last CD, Plans Gang Aft Agley. Ray of Hope producer Ron Flynt (20/20) provides bass and keyboards. Guitar and mandolinist Rich Brotherton (Robert Earl Keen), resonator guitarist Scrappy Jud Newcomb (The Resentments), fiddler Warren Hood (The Waybacks) and percussionist John Bush (New Bohemians) laid down tracks to complement Patton’s songs, guitar/vocals and Brokus’ lead/harmony vocals and percussion.
In Patton’s recent songs, a man keeps getting back up after being knocked down; a woman loses everything she cares about; a couple celebrates thirty years of marriage; a man discovers alternate definitions of success; a father tells his child not to make the same mistakes he did; people fall in love; relationships end; relationships endure.
Patton cites 20th century American fiction (“from Fitzgerald and Hemingway and Faulkner to Kerouac and Salinger and Raymond Chandler”) and the various lives of the friends he grew up with in Maryland (“I knew doctors and lawyers and waitresses and teachers and water rats and gravediggers and the guy who drove the truck that emptied the port-o-pots all over the state”) as the main source of his lyrical inspiration.
Patton and Brokus have sung together for over twenty five years, and confess to listening to a lot of “Richard & Linda Thompson, the Byrds, the Airplane, the Everly Brothers, and Emmylou Harris singing with Bob Dylan” when they started, before they took off in a direction “that’s pretty much our own”.
“Ray of Hope reached #2 on the Roots Music Report’s Folk Charts, crashed the top 10 on the Roots Music Report’s Americana Country charts, and charted on the prestigious Americana and Folk-dj charts. “Plans Gang Aft Agley” reached number 9 on the Roots Music Report’s Folk Charts, and also charted nationally on Folk-dj and the FAR charts.