Matt Patershuk knows a lot about strength and stability, for this Alberta-based songwriter also has an occupation in bridge building. Bridges can often bear a heavy wieght, but the load borne by Patershuk recently has been immense. four years ago his younger sister, Clare, an artist and therapist was killed by a drunk driver. Matt channelled his grief into the album I Was So Fond Of You, and returns to the matter on this new record. 'Memory and the First Law Of Thermodynamics' takes a scientific view of death, claiming, 'All of you floats about in blue/You're just less orderly'. Dobro and pedal steel weep gently under Matt's cracked voice, creating a quiet masterpiece. Elsewhere life soldiers on, but while there's still an alt-country base to Matt's music, on this evidence he can count himself a bluesman. Same As I Ever Have Been is an album that sounds more New Orleans than Nashville, more Cale and Cooder than Lovett or Loveless. A defiant Everyman edge keeps 'Hot Knuckle Blues' and 'Blank Pages and Lost Wages' honest, before the stark fairytale 'Swans' closes with a pin-drop repose.
Slowly mending the damage to himself, the bridge builder is reinforced here as a serious craftsman in song.