If there were ever an artist who belonged on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, it is Matt Patershuk. His home in Alberta in Canada may be thousands of miles away from that hallowed hall but his music and the prairie upbringing are a perfect match. The fact that the songs on 'I Was So Fond Of You' were largely recorded 'live off the floor' with minimal overdubbing and studio trickery further evokes the Opry's renowned radio broadcasts. Patershuk's baritone vocals are raw, earthy and imbued with emotion, reminiscent of the likes of Willie Nelson, but blend perfectly with the guitars, fiddle, mandolin and double bass scattered liberally across the tracks. But it rises to its highest heights when perfectly entwining with the pure country voice of Ana Egge as she 'sings the third' in true country style.
The music and lyrics across the album are so very 'country' that in lesser hands they could come across as pure pastiche. However, instead they mine diamonds from the bedrock at the heart of the country-blues. Whether contemplating his navel on 'Smoke a Little Cigar' or bloody revenge on 'Harviestown,' these songs are never less than committed and authentic.