The Great Unknown

by Jim Patton & Sherry Brokus

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about

“I met Jim and Sherry when I first moved to Austin in 1998. I had the opportunity to work on a record with them and I’m glad it worked out. They are so passionate about their music. I’ve always been drawn to artists who write about their life experiences, and that’s just what Jim and Sherry do. I’m glad to be a part of their music.” - Lloyd Maines

JIM PATTON & SHERRY BROKUS/HIMES/LINER NOTES 2013

By Geoffrey Himes

In his early 60s, an age when most singer-songwriters have been in decline for a decade or more, Jim Patton has improbably deepened and broadened his art. For his new album with his wife and longtime musical partner Sherry Brokus, The Great Unknown, Patton has crafted 10 new songs that do more than explain himself to his listeners; these songs explain those listeners to themselves. For many years Patton has shined a revealing light on his own past and the inside of his own head. But with this record, he aims his flashlight into other skulls and into the future. The Great Unknown, indeed.

The new album begins with one of his best-ever songs, “On the Day I Leave This World,” which allows him to imagine his eventual, inevitable death. It’s a surprisingly humble song; it doesn’t describe that death as a momentous event but rather as another turning of the page. Some friends will be sad, but dogs will go on chasing squirrels as they’ve always done; “This merry-go-round will keep on spinning.” That balance of sadness and naturalness is tricky to capture, but Patton does it not only in his writing but in his vocal as well.

Patton’s willingness to climb inside other people's heads has created an expanded role for Brokus in the duo's music. For the first time on one of their albums, she takes more lead vocals than he does, and her long career as a therapist allows her to convincingly assume the personas of the troubled narrators of “Drown” and “I’m Alright Now.” Neither she nor her husband have ever suffered the addiction and trauma of these two men, but they’ve been close enough to understand it and articulate it as the men themselves never could.

There are similar songs about ex-lovers who can’t let go, brow-beaten children who can’t forget, middle-aged rock'n'rollers who won’t give up. All these characters want to reach new territory, unknown and perhaps greater than anything they’ve known, before the day they leave this world. “It’s easy to show when someone has a problem and when someone has overcome the problem,” Brokus says, “but it’s getting from point A to point B that's hard to describe.” But that's just what Patton and Brokus capture in these songs, thanks in large part to the terrific Texas musicians who frame their voices: producer Ron Flynt, lead guitarist Mary Cutrufello, mandolinist Marvin Dykhuis, fiddler Warren Hood, cellist Julie Carter and percussionist John Bush.

credits

released July 1, 2013

Jim Patton & Sherry Brokus
The Great Unknown

1 On the Day I Leave This World 4:01
2 Rebels Without Applause 3:01
3 Just a Memory 4:44
4 Drown 3:45
5 I'm Alright Now 3:50
6 Happy Anniversary 3:29
7 Crystal City 3:26
8 I'll Never Be Satisfied 2:45
9 Glen Oak Blues 2:55
10 Ordinary Life 4:08
11 After the Dance 2:42

Produced by Ron Flynt

© and (p) 2013 Jim Patton/Sherry Brokus PO Box 93081 Austin TX 78709-3081
(512) 280-8455 pattonbrokus@gmail.com pattonbrokus.com berkalinrecords.com

Jim Patton: acoustic guitar, vocals
Sherry Brokus: vocals, additional percussion
Ron Flynt: bass, piano, keyboards, acoustic guitar, vocals
Mary Cutrufello: lead acoustic guitar
Marvin Dykhuis: mandolin, mandola, classical guitar
Warren Hood: fiddle
Julie Carter: cello
John Bush: percussion

Produced, Recorded & Mixed by Ron Flynt at Jumping Dog Studios, Austin TX

All songs written by Jim Patton (© 2013 Independent Alligator Publishing Co., ASCAP) except: “Drown” (Jim Patton-Sherry Brokus-Jeff Talmadge) (©2013 Independent Alligator Publishing Co., ASCAP and Tot Ziens Music, BMI) , “Ordinary Life” (Eddie Walker) (© 1995 Unorthodox Music, BMI), and “After the Dance” (Jim Patton-Sherry Brokus)

Mastered by Jerry Tubb at Terra Nova Digital Audio, Inc., Austin TX

Design by Matt Eskey, front cover and inside photos by Matt Eskey, back cover photo by Jeff Tveraas.


For Ellen Volk Patton

In memory of Tim Henderson, Mike Watters, and Dick Walker.
Your presence is all through this record, as well as our lives.

special thanks to Jeff Talmadge,
who played the role of Maxwell Perkins in the birthing of the CD.

Jim & Sherry would like to thank:
everyone who played on the record, played in the band, recorded us, promoted us, gave us airplay, loaned us money, came to the shows, listened to the songs, bought our records, put us up for the night, or otherwise helped us on our way. You are too numerous to mention individually, too important not to mention at all.

the rest of the band:
Rich Brotherton, John Cronin, Alan Oresky, Stuart & Hilary Adamson, Richard Dobyns, Beth Galiger, Richard Bowden, Doug “E” Rees, Jeff Tveraas, David Glaser, Bruce Balmer, John Fullbright, Doug Cox, Bettysoo (vocals and accordion)

Above and Beyond:
Michael Fracasso, Cash & Roger, John & Candy, Bill Wence, Erik Balkey, Vanessa Lively, Andy & Katie, 49 West, John & DL, Joe and Bev, Marilyn & Bill Duncan, Brian & Pam, Charlie Stewart, Lee Cadorette, Freddie Wilson, Greg Gaughan, Don Cunningham, Dana & Graham & Chase, Kate Whitaker, Carole Moody, Kamp Kantigree, and our gang at our Folk Alliance and not/SXSW Third Coast Music shows, and the incredible music community of Austin, TX.

Spiritual adviser: R. Gene Munger. Thanks to Sid Griffin for the loan of the title “Rebels Without Applause”. John Bush plays Gon Bops congas & percussion

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Jim Patton & Sherry Brokus Austin, Texas

Austin folk rock songwriters Jim Patton & Sherry Brokus will release “The Hard Part of Flying” in July, their fourth in a series of acoustic albums produced by Ron Flynt. Songs which dive deep into characters whose lives haven't worked out as planned with Airplane/Everly Bros. Wall of Sound harmonies and fiddles, mandolins, and acoustic guitars passionately playing Byrds/Band style roots music. ... more

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Track Name: On the Day I Leave This World
On The Day I Leave This World

On the day I leave this world
The sun will still rise in the sky
Birds will take wing; dogs will chase squirrels
Somewhere a newborn babe will cry
Cause on the day I leave this world
This merry-go-round will keep on spinning
And I’m hoping what seems like the end
Will just be a new beginning
On the day I leave this world

On the day I leave this world
Somebody’s daughter will be getting married
That foolish boy; that long-legged girl
All the burdens they now carry
But on the day I leave this world
Our love will go on living
And for all the times I may have acted otherwise
I hope that I will be forgiven
On the day I leave this world

Everything comes to an end
Not just good things, bad things too
What’s left are seeds in the wind
On the day I leave this world

On the day I leave this world
I’ll leave some friends behind me
Somewhere my old pals will play guitars and sing
About how some ties are binding
On the day I leave this world

Cause on the day I leave this world
There will be no need to cry
The sun will still go down at Venice Beach
And I’ll try to wave goodbye
On the day I leave this world

© words & music by Jim Patton
Independent Alligator Publishing Co (ASCAP)
Track Name: Rebels Without Applause
Rebels Without Applause

Not everybody knows their names
I must confess that’s true
But I don’t know if that’s so bad
On account of the work they do
If they were rich and famous
It would not serve their cause
Telling the story of the Great Unknown
Rebels without applause

They have hearts of lions
They don’t give in to defeat
Their joy is like lightning flashed
Their sorrow is bone deep
Their aim is straight and true, my friend,
They do not double cross
Hats off to the Great Unknown
Rebels without applause

All of them are dreamers
Though they’ve been burned a time or two
Their minds are still wide open
To someone else’s point of view
They still don’t what they are told
They answer to a higher boss
Say a prayer for the Great Unknown
Rebels without applause

Sometimes they wish they hadn’t flown
So close to the sun
Sometimes they wish they could walk away
Before their work is done
But they are Keepers of the Flame
No matter what the cost
Give thanks for the Great Unknown
Rebels without applause
They’re the ones who shine a light
When everything seems lost
God bless the Great Unknown
Rebels without applause

© words & music by Jim Patton
Independent Alligator Publishing Co (ASCAP)
Track Name: Just a Memory
Just A Memory

Your sister's got herself a Facebook page
She shot me a message the other day
Just to say hello
And of course I started thinking about you
So I pulled some old photographs out of a drawer
There was Sam & Janey & Ned & George
And you and me
Back when our world was new
Everything changes
That's a fact
Those days are gone
And they're not coming back
Everything fades into history
Time baby moves so fast
Freight train rolling down a one way track
All that’s left is
Just a memory

We were hanging out at Round Bay Beach
All our dreams still within reach
And I was playing
That Epiphone guitar
Now years and years have come and gone
I turned our story into song
Even when wounds heal
They leave a scar
Everything changes
That's a fact
I don’t waste time thinking about the things I lack
Or hanging on to the man I used to be
Time baby moves so fast
When did the past become the past?
When did you turn into
Just a memory?

Sam left Nora, we all saw that comin'
And Ned's a Human Resources Director or somethin'
And Janey went crazy and ran off with a married priest
That was after she married George
Yeah he lives in Austin, comes to all our shows
He works with kids in trouble, kids in need
Everything changes
That's a fact
Remember when he gave us all a heart attack
Driving into those courthouse steps at full speed
Time baby moves so fast
Some people manage to escape their past
And turn it into
Just a memory

I remember one night after the football game
For the first time in my life I didn't have to explain
We lay on our backs starin’ up at that midnight sky
There were a million stars but all I saw was you
We swore forever we'd be true
My world was so full and so alive
Everything changes
That's a fact
Those days are gone
And they're not coming back
Everything fades into history
Time baby moves so fast
Sometimes the past doesn't feel like it's past
And you turned into
Just a memory

© words & music by Jim Patton
Independent Alligator Publishing Co (ASCAP)
Track Name: Drown
Drown

Well, he earned his reputation
As a man who can’t be saved
Every new addiction’s
One step closer to his grave
And I wish we could have helped him
Instead of watch him spiral down
But you just can’t throw a lifeline
To a man who wants to drown

He drags his best friends with him
He wrecks his family
He makes promise after promise
We all know he’ll never keep
He abandons his convictions
At Joey’s bar in Harbortowne
And you just can’t throw a lifeline
To a man who wants to drown

He’ll pull you in
He’ll pull you in
He used to be your friend
But he’ll pull you in

He tried a 12 step program
He tripped on number four
He couldn’t face the mirror
So he closes every door
The friend we all remember
Isn’t really in him now
And you just can’t throw a lifeline
To a man who wants to drown
You just can’t throw a lifeline
To a man who wants to drown


©words and music by Jim Patton, Sherry Brokus, Independent Alligator Publishing Co (ASCAP), & Jeff Talmadge (Tot Ziens Music BMI)
Track Name: I'm Alright Now
I'm Alright Now

I got a little drunked up
Down at the Anchor Inn
When the switchblade flashed
I thought I’d reached the end
But I'm alright now
Baby I’m okay
I did my best Houdini
And I got away
I’m alright now
I’m alright

I took Dead Man’s Curve
At 110
Beneath a hurricane sky
Inside a skeleton wind
But I’m alright now
Let me make that plain
I’m as good as gold
I’m as right as rain
I’m alright now
I’m alright

I’ve been betrayed
But I survived
I’ve been left for dead
But I’m still alive
Yeah I’m alright now
Let me make that clear
It's been a long hard climb
But I'm finally here
Yeah I’m alright now
I feel brand new
I’m alright now
I’m hoping you are too

© words & music by Jim Patton
Independent Alligator Publishing Co (ASCAP)
Track Name: Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary

Would've written you an letter
But I couldn’t find your current address
Just moved to a new apartment
Everything's still a mess
I know you told me not to call you
But that was such a long time ago
I’m glad your husband didn’t answer
Be sure to tell him hello

Remember what today is?

Happy anniversary
Happy anniversary
Happy anniversary to us

Yeah I see your name in the paper
Every once in a while
Helping out some drug abuser
& I can't help but smile
Wasn't it you who was with us
That Saturday night?
At that crazy Lithuanian party,
You were high as a kite
And the cops came in
But I won't let on about your past
Whatever happened,
We probably grew up too fast

Happy anniversary
Happy anniversary
Happy anniversary to us

You're probably thinkin’ I’ve been drinkin’
Well I haven't, not much
You’re probably wondering why I bothered
To get back in touch
I just called you to say
I hope you’re doing ok
Don't read too much
Into anything that I say
But I still remember
When every song that I wrote
Was for you
And I want you to know
Every word that I said
Still rings true

Happy anniversary
Happy anniversary
Happy anniversary to us
Happy anniversary to us

© words & music by Jim Patton
Independent Alligator Publishing Co (ASCAP)
Track Name: Crystal City
Crystal City

You can run from Crystal City
Make a new life by the sea
You can hide out on the boardwalk
I’ll be there eventually
You can’t disappear forever
I won’t let go that easily
You can run from Crystal City
But you can’t run away from me

You can run off with your lover
I’ll be with you in your bed
Baby when you least expect it
You will see my face instead
Or you’ll reach out in the darkness
Before you remember it’s not me
You can run from Crystal City
But you can’t run away from me

Keep an eye out your back window
Put a chain around your heart
Keep your phone number unlisted
Sweetheart that’s the easy part
You can change the locks on everything
I already have the key
You can run from Crystal City
But you can’t run away from me

© words & music by Jim Patton
Independent Alligator Publishing Co (ASCAP)
Track Name: I'll Never Be Satisfied
I’ll Never Be Satisfied

I got a dollar in my pocket
Got a beer in my hand
Got a couple close friends
Got a rock ‘n roll band
That would satisfy most men
I know it’s true
But I’ll never be satisfied
Cause I ain’t got you

I got a ’95 Toyota
Hardly ever been broke
A warm bed to sleep in,
I ain’t hooked on dope
I got a steady job
And an occasional girlfriend too
But I’ll never be satisfied
Cause I ain’t got you

I got everything
That a man could need
I got a stereo
I got a Gene Clark CD
I got a place to go
When I need something to eat
Because Evangeline’s
Is right down the street

We used to hang out there
Once upon a time
When we still harmonized
When our thoughts would rhyme
When our roads were one
And our love was new
Now I’ll never be satisfied
Cause I ain’t got you

I got everything
That a man could need
I got a stereo
A Little Pink CD
I got a place to go
When I need something to eat
Because Evangeline’s
Is right down the street

We used to hang out there
Once upon a time
When we still harmonized
When our thoughts would rhyme
When our roads were one
And our love was new
Now I’ll never be satisfied
Cause I ain’t got you
I’ll never be satisfied
Cause I ain’t got you
I’ll never be satisfied

© words & music by Jim Patton
Independent Alligator Publishing Co (ASCAP)
Track Name: Glen Oak Blues
Glen Oak Blues

Your mama was a manipulator
Your daddy was a world class hater
Of black people, brown people, yellow people, Indians, Jews
And I don’t know how you came out of that mess
Why you’re not just like ‘em is anybody’s guess
But somehow you escaped those Glen Oak Blues
The nuns at school were petty tyrants
Your lovers filled with senseless violence
Your bosses nearly always hit on you
Still you grew up straight and you grew up true
In spite of everything they tried to do to you
Somehow you escaped those Glen Oak Blues

Your daddy’s daddy used to beat him
So he beat you till you were fifteen
Your mom denied she ever saw a bruise
Both her folks were alcoholic,
Melancholic, hyperbolic,
But somehow you escaped those Glen Oak Blues
You grew up brave and you grew up strong
In spite of everyone that’d done you wrong
They offered you their chains but you refused
And I don’t know how you came out of that mess
Why you’re not just like ‘em is anybody’s guess
Somehow you escaped those Glen Oak Blues

Somehow you turned out kind
With an open heart and a fearless mind
They offered you their chains but you refused
And I don’t know how you came out of that mess
Why you’re not just like ‘em is anybody’s guess
But somehow you escaped those Glen Oak Blues
Somehow you escaped those Glen Oak Blues

© words & music by Jim Patton
Independent Alligator Publishing Co (ASCAP)
Track Name: Ordinary Life
Ordinary Life

You could never make me happy
My whole life I’ve never bent
There’s a great big world still out there
But I’ve yet to make a dent

An Ordinary Life
An Ordinary Life
The only thing that really scares me
Is an Ordinary Life

I swear heaven heard me talking
Every time I knelt to pray
Sometimes I even stopped to listen
But no wisdom came my way

An Ordinary Life
An Ordinary Life
The only thing I never prayed for
Is an Ordinary Life

Myself
I promised
I would never live a lie
I feel unworthy
But you just look at me and sigh

Tonight you’re in my arms and dreaming
That’s enough to make me smile
Those little dreams that seemed beneath me
Are looking bigger all the while

An Ordinary Life
An Ordinary Life
The only thing that really scares me
Is an Ordinary Life

An Ordinary Life
An Ordinary Life
The only thing I never prayed for
Is an Ordinary Life

© Eddie Walker (Unorthodox Music BMI)
Track Name: After the Dance
After The Dance

After the dance is over
After your waltz in the sun
You stay out on the floor
And you ask for one more
After the dance is done

After the song has ended
The melody still lingers on
You can hear it so clear
Ringing right in your ear
After the dance is done

The ballplayer hangs on to play one last season
The old man still stumbles out on to the stage
And Pete still calls Nikki without any reason
In his eyes the girl hasn't aged

After the dance is over
After your moment is gone
You stay out on the floor
And you ask for one more
After the dance is done

© words & music by Jim Patton & Sherry Brokus
Independent Alligator Publishing Co (ASCAP)