Trickster Singer Songwriter Patrick Ames continues to evolve his lyrically potent junkyard blues signature cocktail on hooky new single “Essential Workers”, out today on all platforms.
For someone like Patrick, who very much observes and writes about the world around him, current events are inevitably going to find their way into his songs – especially when the California wildfires have been literally closing in on his Napa Valley home.
Ames manages to plug into deep messages about equality and what it means to be an essential worker, while still putting the rock and roll hooks on full display with a statesman baritone overtop the soulful backing vocals of regular collaborators Chana Matthews and Mikaela Matthews. As with his prior two singles “Reawakened 2020” and “You Make Me Scream”, “Essential Workers” was produced by Jon Ireson.
“Virus, protests, sheltering, heat, fire, and floods. The new normal is heard here. In fact the whole concept of what is essential is under review here, and I wanted a song that mashed up the elements, the verses, the vocals, with lyrics like streaks of tear gas: It spurts, it starts, it mashes acoustic with rave, it’s wild and filled with today’s Pandemic life and scenes we immediately recognize. It’s also a modern recruitment sign-up song. There’s a narrative, a progression from Essential Workers becoming the Nightly Protesters who give rise to the Essential Angels who tell us what has just happened: We can’t be the same society anymore. We may be essential but that doesn’t mean our lives are free. Essential Workers, the song, says treat people as equal, not just essential in times of need.
I gave this great big clump of stuff and emotion and smoky vocals to Producer Jon Ireson while California was literally burning in mid-August. The first drafts were shockingly rough, as I had all these bridges and choruses, twice as many as in the final cut. I gave Jon a much trimmer second draft and then went after Chana and Mikaela, my singers, and we did a Zoom recording session, as I watched them record in their home while I directed remotely. And then we sent another clump of vocals, 10-12 tracks of different stuff back to Jon, half of it out of tune because our voices and throats were so hoarse from the California fires and smoke storms taking place.
Jon is amazing, he is the Producer, the bass player, organ player, percussion programming, and mix and master. We spoke several times about impact, beat, messaging, politics, and how it can all be expressed coherently, with that beat, with that emotional draping, yet still be a song. He did it. It’s high energy and its high impact with some pretty direct lyrics. I wanted something the delivery guys could play loud in their vans with the windows down, and Jon helped me do it. Enjoy. Vote.” – Patrick Ames
“Patrick approached me with the idea to honor and celebrate the heroes of this year in the form of a tribute to the essential worker. Health care and essential business workers but also protesters who have to continue to hold lawmakers accountable in these times as much as any other. My mother was a nurse and though all of us should appreciate their hard work and sacrifice, it hits home for me especially.
He brought a demo to me with a propulsive beat and gruff chords that he framed as a sort of battle chant to those going into harms way every day for us. With the help of his singers Chana and Mikaela, we worked to make it a soulful ode to the backbone of America. I gave the drums some rumble, gave it a marching bass line, and added some organ to give it some of that gospel flare.” – Jon Ireson (Producer)
So if you’re an essential worker, this song is for YOU.
Stream “Essential Workers”:
Essential Workers Lyrics
by Patrick Ames © 2020 All rights reserved.
I am an essential worker, I make deliveries
Virus waves have wiped this place, I travel empty streets
We know we are disposible, but essential people must eat
While Everyone has gone inside, to wait for their deliveries
I am a health worker / I work inside the quarantines
My face Has sores from masks I’ve worn, my body need sanitizing
Bankers, tailors, liars, and thieves, they all are the same to me
Once inside they stabilize, another day, another week
I’m an essential worker /I”m essential but its not for free
I’m an virus worker / ~~Essential to this society
We are the nightly protesters/ we shout against the po-po-lice
We try to push the hate inside, that jacks this democracy
We are the essential angels / who sing “The world has changed.”
Tear gas kings and virus queens, “It’s never going to be the same.”
[bridge 2 ]
We deliver this protest to you, hark the angels’ truth
We deliver this protest to you, hark the angels’ news
We are essential workers (we’re essential, too)
We are the nightly protesters (we’re essential, too)
We are essential workers but our lives ain’t free