Ray of Hope
Jim Patton & Sherry Brokus' Ray of Hope CD contains 11 Songs about characters whose lives haven't worked out like they planned backed by Airplane/Everly Bros. Wall of Sound harmonies and fiddles, mandolins, and acoustic guitars passionately playing Byrds/Band style roots music from Austin TX. Ray of Hope is the follow up to Patton and Brokus' Plans Gang Aft Agley, which made the Roots Music Reports Folk Top Ten, and also charted on Folk-DJ and FAR. Ray of Hope uses the same team: producer by Ron Flynt (20/20) and in addition to Patton on guitar and Flynt on bass and keyboards, performances from Rich Brotherton (Robert Earl Keen), Scrappy Jud Newcomb (The Resentments), Warren Hood (The Waybacks), and John Bush (New Bohemians). In Patton's recent songs, a man keeps getting back up after being knocked down, a woman loses everything she cares about, a couple celebrates thirty years of marriage, dreams die, dreams are reborn, people discover alternate definitions of success; people fall in love, people fall out of love; relationships end; relationships endure. Patton cites 20th century American fiction ("from Fitzgerald and Hemingway and Faulkner to Kerouac and Salinger and Raymond Chandler") and the various lives of the friends he grew up with in Maryland ("I knew doctors and lawyers and waitresses and teachers and water rats and gravediggers and the guy who drove the truck that emptied the port-o-pots all over the state") as the main source of his lyrical inspiration. Patton and Brokus have sung together for over twenty five years, and confess to listening to a lot of "Richard & Linda Thompson, the Byrds, the Airplane, the Everly Brothers, and Emmylou Harris singing with Bob Dylan" when they started, before they took off in a direction "that's pretty much our own".