Local blues/rock musician and singer-songwriter Patrick Dodd will celebrate the release of his newest album, Future Blues, with a show this Saturday at the Blue Monkey in Midtown.
Dodd is riding high of late. He was recently crowned "Entertainer of the Year" for 2011 by the Beale Street Merchants Association ("an awesome honor," Dodd says) and has become a hot commodity for club owners around the area, both on and off of Beale. He estimates that he and his new group, the Patrick Dodd Trio — which includes well-known local players Landon Moore (bass) and Harry Peel (drums) — played over 600 gigs in 2010 and 2011 alone.
But, surprisingly, just a few years ago Dodd was essentially retired from music.
His career started to blossom in the late '90s, when a teenage Dodd began performing around town and eventually signed to the now-defunct local label Rockingchair Records, which released his debut, Pleasure, in 1997. Back then, Dodd was pursuing a more jammy/alternative musical direction similar to Dave Matthews and was a frequent and popular performer on the Highland Strip.
Around 2002, however, Dodd suddenly slammed on the brakes and put music aside.
"I kind of stopped playing music," he says. "My wife and I were starting a young family, and my guitar ended up sitting in its case under my bed for years, literally."
It would take nearly seven years, in fact, for Dodd to get back into performing.
"I just fell into playing again. I felt like something was missing inside," he says.
When he returned to the scene, Dodd retooled his sound, moving toward an electric blues and Southern rock direction, and decided to put together a new band (eventually settling on the fine rhythm section of Moore and Peel) and find work on Beale Street.
"My writing has changed a lot," he says. "More than 10 years have passed, and I have simply grown up," Dodd says.
"People come to Beale Street expecting to hear and experience a certain thing, so we sometimes walk a fine line between playing for the tourists and playing the music that we as a band have created. However, in the last several months we have been overwhelmed with the response we have been getting on Beale just doing our own thing, and the tourists are still showing up."
Last year, Dodd and his bandmates decided to document this new sound in the studio and hired the local engineer Kevin Houston and producer Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars to handle the task. And so, in late summer, the trio and production team entered Ward Archer's Music + Arts recording facility and cut what would become Future Blues.
"This record is way different than anything I have done before," Dodd says. "We pretty much recorded the entire thing live, even keeping the scratch vocals and guitar solos. We wanted it to be a raw-sounding recording, something that would represent what we do live. I couldn't be happier with the sound of the record."
After this Saturday's release show at the Blue Monkey, the band will get back to grinding at clubs on Beale and beyond. But after the positive experience of making Future Blues, Dodd promises that more recordings will follow.
"I know I speak for the entire band when I say that we are looking forward to 2012, hitting the road, introducing our music to festivals and clubs all over the country," he says. "But mostly we just want to continue creating music and recording that music as often as possible."
Patrick Dodd Trio
Future Blues Release Show
The Blue Monkey (Midtown)
Saturday, January 28th, 9 p.m., $3