Pat Ament: Songs of Pat Ament
This reissue of an obscure 1971 record of moody and brooding piano folk captures a rootless world of sensitivity. Pat Ament released Songs when he was 25. He was a renaissance guy, having cultivated serious skills and accomplishments in the fields of mountain climbing, photography, writing, martial arts, chess, education and more. It’s ironic that Ament made a record of hobo-esque songs about riding the railroads and wandering, sung to the accompaniment of a Wurlitzer electric piano—an instrument known for being something of a chore to lug around. “The time has come to find a spot/ Beneath a truck/I’llll freeze, but I’ll see a lot,” Ament sings on “The Farewell,” accompanied by a guitarist and a drummer who offer jazzy, minimalist backing. The instrumentation gets tiresome, with the dreamy haze of the reverby electric piano creating a relentless “Riders on the Storm” vibe. The singing evokes Nashville Skyline -era Dylan, with a slightly pinched, in-thethroat expressivity. He sounds both constrained and declamatory. Ament is also reminiscent of Leonard Cohen, Buffy St. Marie, Jim Croce, Bill Fay, John Phillips and Loudon Wainwright III. More of the moment, perhaps, one could almost mistake Ament’s voice for that of Kevin Morby at times, with its subtle, dark vibrato.