First Listen: Detroit's Pat Smillie funks it up on new single

Photo credit: Steve Jessmore

(June 8, 2021) When you think of music from Detroit, one of the first examples - if not the first - most will envision is the classic "Motown Sound" from the 1960s. Hard percussion and horns, along with passionate vocals and melodies that everyone can sing. Sixty plus years after that sound was defined, native Detroiter Pat Smillie is doing his best to keep the sound alive on his latest single, "Heart in a Headlock."

(June 8, 2021) When you think of music from Detroit, one of the first examples - if not the first - most will envision is the classic "Motown Sound" from the 1960s. Hard percussion and horns, along with passionate vocals and melodies that everyone can sing. Sixty plus years after that sound was defined, native Detroiter Pat Smillie is doing his best to keep the sound alive on his latest single, "Heart in a Headlock."

Originally from Detroit, Smillie earned a reputation as a powerhouse vocalist on the Chicago blues scene, including a residency at the legendary Checkerboard Lounge. Ultimately, he relocated back to the Motor City in 2015 and has not missed a beat. The leadoff single from Smillie's Last Chance album, "Heart in a Headlock," is a fun number that talks about how hard it is to get over a lover from the past. No matter what Smillie tried to do, he realized that, "it all went wrong, she's got my heart in a headlock." Co-written with Josh Ford, and backed by Keith Kaminski's horn arrangement, the song leans heavily on Smillie’s blues chops to deliver an inspired vocal.

While some attempt to recreate successful sounds and try so hard that they miss the mark, Pat Smillie plays to his strengths and the result is a song that isn't overpowering but effectively shows what a Motown Revue would sound like in 2021. Check it out below.

By Keivu Knox

Pat Smillie - "Heart In A Headlock"

 
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