Nashville Musician Pat Reedy Remembers a Dive Bar Inside an Old STL McDonalds

 In Culture, Interviews

New Orleans-born musician Pat Reedy is releasing a brand-new album accompanied by a Missouri tour. Now based out of Nashville, Reedy is proud to share “Highway Bound” with his Midwest fans.

Reedy has toured the country for the past eight years playing festivals, bars, venues and listening rooms. Often seen playing alongside songwriter Ronnie Aitkens, his full band includes pedal steel, dobro, fiddle, electric guitar, upright bass, drums and piano. His live shows, known for their energy, honesty and humor, are enjoyed by audiences nationwide. Be sure to catch him in STL at Foam Coffee Shop on Aug. 11, starting at 8pm.

Photo provided by Pat Reedy

Photo by Reto Sterchi

Where are you from? 
I was born, and to my knowledge conceived, in Meeker, Colorado. I grew up more in Illinois and lived most of my adult life in New Orleans. I’ve also lived in Wyoming, Oregon, Montana, Texas and now Nashville, Tennessee.

What was one moment in your life that you can say helped shape your music career?
When I first went to New Orleans and met honest-to-God great street performers for the first time. I could play a few chords on a guitar before then but that’s when I started doing it seriously. They were extraordinarily patient and welcoming. It’s a great place to learn to play.

Have you been to STL before? Do you have any fond memories or stories to share? 
I have been to St. Louis several times. I love playing here. It’s an old city, kind of a cultural hub in history, and it seems a lot of people here are proud as hell of it, as they should be. Its big, too—you never know what you’re going to find.

Years ago, after a show, Jack Grelle (St. Louis-based musician) told me “Pat, you might not like this, but I think you need to see it.”  He brought us to a dive bar/nightclub which was in a closed-down McDonald’s.

They hadn’t remodeled it in the slightest either; they hadn’t even bothered to clean it. You could feel the floor holding your boot down when you lifted it to take a step or dance. It was that sticky–like walking on fly paper.

The menu was hanging in tatters from the wall, the bartenders scurrying behind the counter filling solo cups as fast as they could.  They had one kind of beer and it was terrible. All the lights were off but they had hung up a disco ball and had early ’90s dance music videos playing on a projector screen.  Every walk of life, ethnicity, subculture etc. was represented there and every variety of criminal enterprise was likely represented in the parking lot.

It was the most surreal bar I’ve ever been to.  And at the end of the night, after they hollered “last call,” flipped the lights on, and I wondered, “How did I get to be standing blind drunk in a post-apocalyptic McDonalds in the middle of the night?” surrounded by strangers probably thinking the same thing.

 When you sit down to write a song, what usually inspires you? What’s your process?
I don’t have a process and I don’t sit down to write a song. I have no such discipline. The songs come (uninvited) into my head. When I’m not on the road, I run heavy equipment in Nashville and, lately, the songs keep coming at work. So, to be honest, the process lately has been hiding behind the cab of an articulating dump truck scribbling down lyrics on one of the Spanish pages of the owners manual for the truck while telling my foreman over the radio that I’m just checking the hydro oil level.

Tell us about your new album, “Highway Bound.” 
The album came out of New Orleans. I knew I wouldn’t be there much longer, and I was trying to capture a specific sound and feel that I associate with New Orleans. Hopefully that comes across.  They are songs written on 2X4 scraps with carpenters pencils and played by New Orleans street performers in a studio in Nashville.  Hope ya’ll like them.

Learn more about Pat Reedy and watch live videos

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