Photo by Rett Rogers
The vast majority of popular songs are written about a love interest, and the vast majority of these were written from a man’s point-of-view. This especially troubled Denver’s Esme Patterson after listening to Townes Van Zandt’s classic “Loretta.” “I started thinking about how one-sided and subjective a lot of ‘love songs’ are,” she says, “and how a lot of women immortalized in songs might tell a different side of the story if anyone ever asked.” So for her second solo album, Patterson set out to do just that.
Woman To Woman, out April 15, is a collection of “responses” to classic songs, like the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” Elvis Costello’s “Alison,” and the Band’s “Evangeline.” Patterson even tackles “Jolene” by Dolly Parton, a tricky challenge given Parton’s empowering persona. “Listening to ‘Jolene,’ I was thinking that Dolly’s man, the one she’s begging Jolene not to steal, sounds like a sleazy, no-good fellow that doesn’t deserve the love of Dolly’s character,” Patterson recently told CMT Edge. “In my response, Jolene is not interested in her man. She thinks he’s a creep, he keeps leaning in too close, and Jolene tries to tell Dolly’s character that she deserves better!” The result is “Never Chase A Man,” a song that wears its honky-tonk trappings on its sleeves. The pedal steel is more punch-drunk than weepy, and Patterson sounds utterly defiant at the song’s center.