Song Premier: Patton & Brokus Take Off The Rose Colored Glasses For “Here’s To My Friends” But Find Plenty To Love

Austin-based Folk-Rock duo Jim Patton & Shery Brokus are releasing their new album Big Red Gibson on October 13th, 2023, via Berkalin Records, which marks their seventh release on the Houston label in fourteen years.

Big Red Gibson represents a return to the rockier side of Patton & Brokus’s Folk-Rock origins for the first time since 2005, when they put their band Edge City “on hiatus”. However, the band on Gibson plays with a Tom Petty and Byrds influence, led by Cordy Lavery’s electric 12 string guitar.

Today, we’re very pleased to premier a track from Big Red Gibson, titled “Here’s To My Friends”. It’s a track that sounds celebratory from the outset but handles praise of the ones we love with a very specific angle of clear-eyed appreciation. Viewing one’s friends through the eyes of love doesn’t devolve into wearing rose colored glasses, so the faults and strengths are doled out in equal measure, convincing us that being humane, not perfect, might be the point of being human.

Musically, the vocals are delivered in a very matter-of-fact but appreciative way, almost as if making a public statement about one’s friends, which is basically true of the song. The Rock ‘n Roll elements are definitely present, as mentioned for Big Red Gibson, but they never overshadow the natural rhythm of the song that’s essentially multi-genre, and Ron Flynt’s keyboards do a welcoming job of conjuring the upbeat feel of a music-laced gathering in a familiar setting.

Jim Patton & Sherry Brokus share about their song:

I’ve always liked to have my gang around me from the time I was a kid and now I need them more than ever to keep my sanity. In spite of their many screwups and personal failings and bad choices. Hanging out with them is how I heal.

On Big Red Gibson, Sherry Brokus and Bettysoo perform vocals and Jim Patton handles vocals, acoustic, and rhythm guitar. Cordy Lavery plays lead six and 12 string guitars. Ron Flynt plays rhythm guitar, keyboards, bass, and performs background vocals, while Steve McCarthy plays the drums. Eric Hisaw also plays lead electric guitar on one track, “Janey Has a Locket”.

When they set out to create Big Red Gibson, Patton brought a batch of 20 songs to longtime producer Ron Flynt that called for a harder edge than the mostly acoustic sounds of Going the Distance, their 2022 CD that spent 20 weeks on the Americana chart. After culling the songs down to the very best of the bunch, a few things became evident.

They felt that these were among the best songs that Patton had ever brought to Flynt and also that the songs reflected an “urgency” that needed to be reflected in the music. The resulting record blends Patton’s songwriting with a “Rock n Roll mentality” and a mix of electric and acoustic instruments.

The duo also notes that Flynt has played bass and keyboards, sung harmonies, and produced Patton & Brokus since 2008 and that drummer Steve McCarthy and Patton bonded over their love of old Kinks records.

You’ll also find longtime friend BettySoo filling in on the high parts of the vocals that used to be Brokus’s while Brokus concentrates on her lower range. This is due to the fact that Brokus’s voice, ravaged in 2019 by allergies, is on the road to recovery. Though she has no damage to her vocal cords, it may take another year and a half for her to sing fully again. However, she has already cut two lead vocals for the next album, which they’ve already started to record.