Interviews and Articles

FAME Review: "Heaven Is So High...And I'm So Far Down"

By Frank Gutch, Jr.

Let's get the obvious out of the way. Pat Wictor is a monster lap steel, resonator guitar and dobro player and deserves every bit of the praise coming his way these days. Put a guitar in his lap and give him a coke bottle and he can fry your musical brains, holding a note seemingly forever with a subtle sliding of the strings. He plays blues and folk like he was born to them, though he took a convoluted journey getting to them, paying dues with rock and jazz and God knows what other genres. By the time he got to Heaven Is So Highand I'm so far down, he was ready.

Did I mention that he has a voice? And he can write?! "Rejoice In My Troubles" is an old timey triumph, right up there with the superb originals provided by Tim O'Brien, before and after the legendary Hot Rize. Inspired by Robert Pete Williams' "I've Grown So Ugly," Wictor came up with the folk/blues/rocker "Don't You Know Me Well," a slight touch of Canned Heat thrown into the mix for good measure. Bass by Freebo and primo blues harmonica by Bob Beach have to be noted here because it is an ensemble piece par excellence.

When Wictor isn't promoting his own great songs, he's picking on those of others. "When I Go" is a beautiful version of a Dave Carter song, based on what sounds like English traditional folk. "You Got To Move," the blues classic, enlists the more than able talents of Abbie Gardner and the dual vocals and dual slide work is magic. Walter Davis' "Come Back Baby" is nailed down solid with superb acoustic lap slide work of top caliber. Man, if you like slide, this guy plays it!

Pat Wictor's name and guitar has graced many an indie release these past few years and this album explains it all. Few guys out there can equal what he does and artists know it. As his legend grows, and I truly expect it to, he will be in ever more demand.

As for his future as an artist, it is before him and is a good one if this album is any indication at all. I would suggest that if you like acoustic folk and blues with a touch of the old timey, or lap steel and dobro of exceptional quality, you should hop on the train now. It's picking up steam and you don't want to get left behind.