Song Of The Day

Patrick Watson: A Dazzling Sonic Cyclone

Patrick Watson; courtesy of the artist i i

hide captionBorrowing as much from soul as it does from rock, Patrick Watson's "Sit Down Beside Me" is both lovely and haunting.

courtesy of the artist
Patrick Watson; courtesy of the artist

Borrowing as much from soul as it does from rock, Patrick Watson's "Sit Down Beside Me" is both lovely and haunting.

courtesy of the artist

Wednesday's Pick

  • Song: "Sit Down Beside Me"
  • Artist: Patrick Watson
  • CD: "Sit Down Beside Me" (single)
  • Genre: Pop-Rock

When Patrick Watson sings, it's hard not to pay attention. At the same time, it's also difficult to pinpoint exactly what's so gripping about his voice. It might be the soothing, sleepy-time timbre, or maybe it springs from nostalgia for the great Jeff Buckley — in a funny way, Watson's voice is commanding in its airiness. The Canadian songwriter has been honing his eclectic style for nearly a decade now, with beautiful albums like 2006's Close to Paradise and 2009's Wooden Arms, which is also what he calls his band these days.

For Watson and Wooden Arms, "Sit Down Beside Me" marks a return to songwriting and recording after a year of rigorous touring. The song was recorded this spring at Watson's home studio and, as always, it tends to defy classification. Over the years, Watson has perfected a sort of ambiguous genre, which could be described loosely as "dreamscape" music.

Borrowing as much from soul as it does from rock, the song is both lovely and haunting. It starts with a ghostly, clinking piano, which is then spread with cinematic strings and a sunny background vocal that evokes something to the effect of a distant children's choir. These elements coalesce into a swirling, percussive bridge, aided by Watson's bleary vocal ornamentation and a gently babbling marimba, to hypnotic effect. Eventually, this dazzling sonic cyclone subsides, and Watson emerges to make a final, vulnerable appeal: "Sit down beside me and stay awhile / till the night runs away / till the morning rises and we part our ways / till the end of our days."

This story was originally published on June 23, 2010.

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Song Of The Day