Hearts of gold

Pete Kilpatrick Band make like Obama and hope
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  October 2, 2008

LOTS MORE MISTER NICE-GUY: Pete Kilpatrick Band.
Hope In Our Hearts | Released by the Pete Kilpatrick Band | with Will Bailey and the Rivals + Gypsy Tailwind | at the Empire, in Portland | October 4, all ages at 5 pm, 21+ at 9 pm
Pete Kilpatrick’s burgeoning career is a microcosm of the near-chaos that is the current state of the music industry. In the days of yore, his three well-crafted albums over five years and record-setting local sales numbers would have locked up a label contract and sent him on his way to national radio play. Instead, he had to win an online contest based on playing down in Boston to get a development deal with Epic Records’ Original Signal label.

And then what happened?

“It was all looking pretty good and then we started just not hearing from them at all,” Kilpatrick says, “and then we found out they got bought out by Sony/BMG, and that whole part of Epic just got brushed aside ... But it kind of worked out better, because they just gave us the money, which we put toward making a new record with [Jon] Wyman.”

Yep. In this day and age, it’s a good thing when the label you’re working with ignores you and pays you to go away. Go figure. Kilpatrick’s freedom also allowed him and his solidifying band to work with some of Dave Matthews’s management and land random opportunities like being included on a compilation that was handed out at every one of Matthews’s tours stops this summer, or getting four songs included on the new Golden Tee soundtrack (yeah, that golf video game).

Still, “It’s really confusing as to what the situation is,” Kilpatrick says.

But fuck all that. What’s a band left to do anymore if not make an album they can be proud of and see what happens? Yet again, with Hope in Our Hearts, Kilpatrick has moved his songwriting forward, feeding off the talents of guitarist Zach Jones (As Fast As), bassist Matt Cosby (Jeremiah Freed), drummer Matt Lydon (Averi), and keyboardist Steve Morrell (he’s good, trust me) to make a record that’s still rooted in his nice-guy, John Mayer-esque apple-cheekedness, but with a bigger and more well-rounded sound. He’s never seemed so relaxed and comfortable in his songs, that’s for sure. And while that may at times lead to tunes that could use a little more fire and brimstone, they’re also more quirky and interesting than anything he’s done before.

Look, this is a guy who unapologetically mentions he included handclaps on the album as a tribute to Hall & Oates’s “Private Eyes.” That’s self-assuredness.

In the liner notes to the album, Kilpatrick writes of his father dying in January, and submitting to a bit of the depression that gripped many of us during this year’s seemingly endless winter (In “Chasing the Sun,” the chorus actually runs, “Will this winter ever end?”). This seems to have resulted in an it-is-what-it-is attitude, both accepting fate and the-devil-may-care.

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