Album Review of Patsy Thompson: Fabulous Day
Released in 2020, this album from singer-songwriter Patsy Thompson was 12 years in the making. Essentially, that’s because family obligations came calling as the Canadian-born artist took care of her ailing mother. With not much support from family, she felt broken and burned out. But in the nick of time her long-time friend and co-writer/producer/guitarist Chris Rolin stepped in to offer her a chance to complete this album and get her back on a career track.
Fabulous Day is a record that is very personal for Thompson. She co-wrote 9 of the 10 songs here, and they all are taken from various aspects of her life and experience.
The title track opens the album with a tale of hope and new beginnings. The mood is ebullient as she sings with incredible range and conviction. It features a strong chorus and lyrical hook. That sets the stage for an enticing musical ride.
“Neon Lights” is a classic song of love and longing. It spotlights Thompson’s stellar vocals and her knack for storytelling. “Picking You Up” is an obvious single that should register mighty strong at country radio. It’s an uptempo honky-tonkin’ party tune. This focuses on throwing all your cares to the wind and stepping out with that significant other for a night on the town. Thompson sings with an aggressive growl that grabs your attention.
“Dreamin’” sounds like a cross between k.d. lang and Patsy Cline. It has a very ethereal vibe and a timeless country feel. Again, this shows another side to this stellar female crooner. “I Can’t Be in Love With You Tonight” contains a sentiment many folks can relate to. It’s a song for anyone that’s ever had any conflict over giving their heart to someone. Thompson talks about love feeling so wrong, yet feeling so right. Yeah, you’ve probably heard that used as a narrative many times before, but this is genuine and from her soul.
“Misery and Gin” is the sole cover here, and it’s a good choice. Again, this contains familiar ground that really mines the human condition. She sings “Looking at my life through the bottom of a glass, all I see is a gal who’s fading fast.” There is a strong sense of melancholy here performed in the style of Tanya Tucker or Tammy Wynette. There’s a nice guitar break that supports a subtle jazzy/blues tavern-like atmosphere.
“Passion” is another Thompson original that is a bit different from some of the other fare here. This would be an appropriate song to dance the tango by. She sings a sweet romantic lyric atop accordion, acoustic bass and a pervasive gypsy feel.
“Someone to Blame” addresses the chaos an old flame can create when the former lover can’t leave well enough alone. Select fiddle work from Mike Sanyshyn and a rocking blues feel push Thompson as she sings “Bad news is coming down like rain as you’re looking for someone to blame.”
“Joy Ride” is a straight forward and simply stated country barn burner. It’s got a spry up tempo kick similar to “Picking You Up.”
Thompson closes the album with a Grand Ole Opry-influenced Christmas tune called “I Think About You.” It’s the kind of song that makes you feel good all over. Here she sings about all the things that remind her of the one she loves, like standing under the Mistletoe, the smell of pumpkin pie wafting from the kitchen, and all that sort of thing. This has all the makings of a modern perennial classic. There’s some nice guitar and fiddle work too.
Patsy Thompson is a terrific songwriter, as well as vocalist, that has opened for some of the biggest names in country music like Willie Nelson, Clint Black and Rusty Weir. She’s also appeared at SXSW and has recorded at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Studios. This is a momentous release that’s sure to please, and filled with a treasure trove of memorable hits.