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Esme Patterson gets Wild at Gasa Gasa 

The singer-songwriter performs July 16

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If you're familiar with Esme Patterson — through her years fronting Colorado folkies Paper Bird, her two previous solo albums or, most likely, her Feist-y duets with Shakey Graves digger Alejandro Rose-Garcia, including the Spotify smash "Dearly Departed" — you know she can do dreamy-pretty in her sleep. The surprise on We Were Wild (Grand Jury Music) comes right away, with eye-opener "Feel Right," when a peel-out guitar pattern and ascending feedback squeal amount to a blastoff for this third release. The imagery that accompanies the record centers around the ties that bind: the chainlink leash she's wearing on the cover, or the heavy rope that pulls her out of the water in the video for lead single "No River." But look closer and those visuals are subverted. The expanded photos for the cover shoot reveal she's holding her own leash, and by the end of "No River," she's won the game of tug-of-war, leading her cadre of dancers back into the stream. Patterson has earned a reputation as a feminist protest singer, her 2014 mini-LP Woman to Woman giving the shackled subjects of so-called "love songs" (Dolly Parton's "Jolene," Townes Van Zandt's "Loretta," Elvis Costello's "Alison") an emancipating rebuttal. She has a different, equally cutting notion: "Songs written from the point of view of men aren't generally touted as masculine songs," Patterson countered in a recent interview. "They're just songs." And with that — and the teeth of a few buzzsaw guitars — they're all set free. Winstons and Conor Donohue open. Tickets $10-$12.


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