I Confess (Independent)
The title track of Pat Chessell’s I Confess has him making the revelation “I’ve never been a drinking man,” the sacrilegious thing being the song bridges bourbon-scented country and Guinness-strength Celtic folk. Seriously, man, how the hell are we supposed to buy you as the real deal if you won’t go at least a couple of rounds with Hank Williams III and Shane MacGowan?
It’s hard, however, to hold that personality flaw against Chessell given the strength of this seven-song EP, professionally recorded with an ace supporting cast that includes roots heavyweight Steve Dawson and members of Spirit of the West and the Irish Rovers. “Paddle Your Own Canoe” reels like Dublin’s Temple Bar district on a Saturday night, and you can practically smell the south Atlantic air on the sea chantey “Santy Ano”.
Chessell fares just as well with his originals. Those who’ve made it through a West Coast winter will have no problem relating to the acoustic-guitar-powered “Rainy Tuesday Morning”, where he sings “Heard the weather on my windowpane/That’s Vancouver I guess.”
After settling in by the fire and taking things down to a Texas-troubadour crawl for “My Old Town”, Chessell goes full Irish hoedown for the all-hands-on-deck stomper “Will You Dance With Me?”. Backed by sawing fiddle and a classic-country backbeat, he sings, “Pull up a chair and let me buy you a drink, and we’ll try this out once more.” Sounds good, but only if the bartender’s pouring doubles while I Confess plays on the jukebox.