Dirty Linen, September 1992
Bluesky Records BSR-915 (1992)
Pat Donohue is a new folk, fast-fingered guitarist-songwriter who plays with the stylings of Blind Blake and Robert Johnson and the verve of Leo Kottke or of another relative newcomer, Brooks Williams. Donohue’s guitar playing is a free-flowing, melifluous menagerie of snappy phrasings of blues, folk, ragtime and jazz. He’s worth listening to over and over again, whether he’s singing a love song, dubbing in his own harmonies, expressing the blues on slide guitar or plucking an instrumental melody.
In a smooth, tenor voice Donohue sings about thinking back to "one of life’s uglier scenes" in "High School," or about trying to keep his cool in "Hot Head" or how he learned about life in "The Hard Way," with Peter Ostroushko adding spicy mandolin tremelos. It’s also no surprise to hear him perform fellow Midwesterner Greg Brown’s saga of self-change, "I Don’t Know That Guy." He finds jazz strains in David Frishberg’s "My Attorney Bernie" and Billy Hill’s old-timer "The Glory of Love."
Although every song puts Donohue’s guitar or vocals out front, he gets backup from Gordy Johnson (bass), Gordy Knutson (drums) and Marc Anderson (percussion) on several songs. But when it comes to the guitar work, it’s all Donohue, it’s dynamic and fun.