Pat Vadnais (Pat V) is a bit of an anomaly within the Detroit music scene. As a member of the Inside Outlaws Songwriting Collective (a group of artists who at various points have landed major record deals, Music Row publishing deals, sold songs to Top 40 country artists, and have too many Detroit Music Awards spread among them for this writer to tally) based in the unlikely industrial suburb of River Rouge, MI, he’s a known entity. However, he’s also somewhat reticent to book shows or perform, preferring to burrow down in Don Duprie’s River Rouge studio to demo and arrange songs for others (see his brilliant production work on Duprie’s 2016 track, “Ballad of the Great American Band”).
He has also written the definitive Detroit shitkicker in “All Fuckered Up,” though, a party song in the outlaw country vein that has brought many nights to a roaring close at Detroit dives and honky tonks; clubs like Mr. K’s, The Corktown Tavern, and The Comet Bar, the last real songwriter spot in the erstwhile Southern Cass Corridor, a neighborhood that got erased when the Ilitches built the new Red Wings arena on the taxpayer’s dime. Places where the clientele might prefer kicking your ass to hearing you play an acoustic guitar.
In an era when Americana often translates into virtuosic guitar and vocal performance coupled with pseudo-poetry, Pat V and the Detroit 3 deliver the real thing: a song that rips your attention away from whatever Keno monitor or football game you might be engrossed in long enough for you to remember what it’s like to get tuned up with friends and have a damn good time, a time before the deleterious effects of that loneliness began to burst capillaries and redden sclera. Enjoy it if you still can.