At the Ian Noe/Colter Wall show in October of 2018, I missed grabbing a photo with either of the 2 headliners as they walked the grounds of Codfish Hollow but, was lucky enough to stumble upon drummer Jordan Solly Levine, and Patrick Lyons who handled the lap steel and dobro that night. In hopes of getting these wonderful musicians a little more exposure, I submitted an event review for Ink19.com and started to follow the guys to see what they would be up to next. Interestingly enough it wouldn’t be long before I would come across Patrick’s name again, but this time in addition to a musician credit, he was also listed as a co-producer on a new album I picked up.
Josh Morningstar’s 7 song EP, The Plea, was in and out of my radar and I grabbed a copy to check out the buzz. While pouring over the liner notes, as any good music enthusiast should, I found Patrick’s name and was immediately curious how he came to help out on the album. The lion pack at Young Mary Records label is a tight knit family, with everyone seemingly playing a number of rolls and helping each other out wherever they can make an impact.
I called Patrick, a Chicago native and recent transplant to Nashville, to see how he landed such a great gig with Colter Wall and how he ended up on the Josh Morningstar album. He explained that he landed the Colter Wall gig through his time playing with Cody Jinks, and mutual friends who had suggested that they needed to get together. Fortuitously they made a connection and the rest as they say is history.
Patrick says in a jovial manner “They didn’t even hold rehearsals they just like, in the beginning of April they asked if I wanted to practice. So we had a rehearsal on a Monday and then asked if I’d come back on Tuesday to rehearse again. And then Tuesday night they asked if I wanted to go out on the road Wednesday. So literally I meet them 2 days before we went out on the road for a month of tours.”
With not much time to learn all the songs I asked how he approaches that kind of situation. Patrick says “They had some live recordings but they didn’t have a pedal steel in the band ever. They had some (pedal steel) on some of the recordings so I just try to be as overly prepared as I could. He (Colter) wanted me to play pedal steel and dobro so I learned some of the steel parts how they were on the record and then he’s like, hey I want you to play dobro.” Patrick laughs, “It was cool, we hit it off right away and it was a pretty good set up, and were all pretty good friends now.”
I moved on to Josh Morningstar’s album, “The Plea”, and his role in playing guitar, Mandolin, Pedal Steel, Dobro, Banjo, Bass and co producing the album. Since Josh had opened up a number of shows for Colter, I thought they may also have been friends before the album. I asked how he ended up being involved with Josh and being on the album.
“So Travis, the tour manager for Colter, he manages Josh. Travis had asked me, and I can’t remember if Mary or Travis or both of them had asked, if I want to help do it and sent me some of of his stuff and, I had heard of him and knew that he’d played with Colter but, I really didn’t know Josh that well.
So they were looking for some musicians and I got some good buddies in town…Geoff Henderson, I got him to play bass on it and my buddy Russ Garner… we had played a couple gigs together in Nashville…he’s a really good drummer. They kind of gave me liberties to get everyone on Joshes record, like my buddy Michael Hartigan plays fiddle and piano…so they kind of let me make a lot of decision on the personnel stuff on the record.
Josh came over to my house and we just rehearsed a couple times before we went in the studio just to kind of run the songs, he had some demos of them and he said just kind of do what you guys want with them. So yeah we just went over some stuff for a day or two at my place and went into the studio and recorded everything in like 2 days. We did it pretty quickly, and yeah it was cool because it came together really quickly.”
I mentioned that “Jerry Lee” is the song that got me hooked on Josh Morningstar before I bought the album and dug into it. Patrick laughs and says “Yeah I heard that one and said yeah, that’s one of the coolest tunes I’ve heard in a long time. Josh is a killer writer man he writes some really cool stuff and we were just trying to do our best to add some stuff to it.”
I asked if he had previous experience in the co-producer arena or how it worked out. “Well, they just wanted me to play pedal steel on it (Jerry Lee), originally, or dobro, or slide stuff, and then Travis asked if I’d play guitar on it and I’m like yeah. So, they had a drummer lined up and they weren’t sure if that was going to work out. So they didn’t come to me and say, hey can you do this, it just kind of added on over time.”
There is a really unique chord that sets off “Jerry Lee” and Patrick explains “I play that weird chord in the beginning and, it’s a baritone guitar, and a buddy of mine gave me that guitar and I’m like, I need to use it on something. We were going to do it at the beginning of the song and the ending and then we decided to just do it at the beginning and it’s just kind of a cool way to start the record.”
I wasn’t familiar with Barrick Recordings, the studio that’s listed on the album, and asked if it was all recorded in Glasgow, KY or where they put it together. Patrick says “It was a studio in Kentucky by this guy David Barrick, whose good friends with Mary (Sparr), and has a really cool studio, he’s a great engineer. He’s worked with everybody and really knowledgeable, he gets a lot of great sounds out of his studio, I had fun working with him.”
My December 28th conversation with Patrick took place between the tour I saw at the end of 2018 and the one that they just finished up in February 2019. He was on a break and really enjoying spending some time at home with his wife. I asked Patrick what else was coming up and besides the pending Colter Wall tour, and what other projects he had on the books.
“I’m supposed to go to New York to play dobro with a guy named Zephaniah Ohora. Have you heard of him? He’s a really great country singer out of New York. He’s friends with the drummer in the (Colter Wall) band, Solly, and he’s got a really good album out his first album, we listen to it a lot. We got introduced and then he came out to see us in NY and we got to talking and he asked me to play some stuff on it, and I’m gonna go out there and play a couple tracks with him.”
Career wise, I was curious if he would ever take the step and put out his own album. Patrick answers hesitantly “Uh yeah, I’ve got a bunch of songs I’ve written and ideas about different stuff and I wouldn’t mind doing it when I get some more time or money. It’s just expensive and I’m trying to work as much as I can and not spend a bunch of money on an album. It could possibly happen but, right now I’m just enjoying what I’m doing. I’m in a good band with a bunch of good people.”
Patrick, despite racking up a number of amazing accolades to his resume and being an amazing multi instrumentalist, is humble, down to earth, and a great guy to talk to. I really appreciate him taking the time to talk about his career and projects that he’s worked on. Follow his social media to see what he’s working on next and I look forward to catching up with him out on the road again soon.
(UPDATE: Since the time of this interview in late December 2018, Josh Morningstar, just today, announced that he signed with True Grit Talent Agency. I’m not sure how that effects his management and didn’t want any confusion based on various statements in the article)