The moment I heard Patrick Watson's new record, Wooden Arms, it was love at first listen. Within hours, I was on the phone, trying to find out more about the singer-songwriter and sorting out how to capture his performance on video for everyone to see and hear.
As it turned out, this Montreal-based musician was to be in New York City the same day I was going to be there, so I asked the good people at WNYC if they loved Watson's music as much as I did. The next thing I knew, he was booked to perform on John Schaefer's wonderful show Soundcheck. I came armed with a few video cameras and witnessed a brilliant band — guitarist Simon Angell, drummer Robbie Kuster and bassist Mishka Stein — performing vibrant, thoughtful and textured pop music.
While few know Patrick Watson, he's been around for a while already. Watson co-wrote and performed on a few songs from The Cinematic Orchestra's album Ma Fleur and won the Polaris Music Prize in 2007 for his own critically acclaimed album Close to Paradise.
Wooden Arms is a beautiful collection of songs that bring together delicate pop, ethereal atmosphere and a minimalist sense of composition. Watson's stunning, romantic voice soars above the guitars and highly orchestrated melodies amid a driving pulse of precise piano work. Meanwhile, Kuster's clattering percussion is crisply performed on snare drums, marimbas and household pots turned upside-down. It's an inspired sound from a great young artist.