Patrick Barnitt finds different grooves on “Sway”

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Vocalist Patrick Barnitt will release his second album, “Sway” July 5, 2019. The album is full of 13 tribute tunes originally done by recognizable names such as Cole Porter, Chicago, The Doors and more. What the eclectic group of songs has in common is Barnitt’s superior phrasing and classic crooner touches.

Incorporating blues, jazz and pop, Barnitt is able to put his own style to use on popular songs. Barnitt is known for having a “warm and intimate voice” and that can be heard throughout “Sway.”

Of all the songs on “Sway,” the two that might be the most noticeable for their adaptation to Barnitt’s style are “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” and “Touch.”

About Patrick Barnitt

Barnitt is one of those rare artists whose day job is another artistic career. The singer is also an actor who has appeared in the horror films “Coffin” and “Coffin 2.” In addition to those films Barnitt can be found on television regularly. With roles in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek Voyager,” and the movie “Star Trek: First Contact,” Barnitt keeps a busy schedule as an actor. Upcoming projects include the final installment of the “Coffin” series and a role in “The Lost Day” with Danny Trejo and Billy Baldwin.

But, it was music that drew Barnitt to the University of Scranton. Before that, he played bass and sang in a rock band as a teen. By that time, Barnitt had also learned to play piano. More than likely Barnitt’s wide-ranging taste in music was influenced by his older brothers’ massive record collection.

After moving to New York City, Barnitt’s career trajectory was a bit more typical. He worked in a restaurant while taking small acting jobs. An opera singer heard him perform in the restaurant’s talent show and encouraged Barnitt to pursue singing.

Barnitt moved to Los Angeles and continued singing. He has become a fixture in the L.A. jazz scene. He performs regularly at the Dresden, a quintessential Hollywood nightclub. Barnitt also plays gigs with Frank DeVito, a member of The Wrecking Crew.

The sound and style of “Sway” by Patrick Barnitt

On “Sway,” Barnitt is accompanied by The Paul McDonald Big Band. The 17-member ensemble features some of the most talented players on the West Coast. The group regularly performs around Southern California and Las Vegas to sold out crowds.

“Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” loses nothing of is original punch in Barnitt’s rendition. The song allows audiences to get a feel for Barnitt’s voice and his ability to interpret a track. While his voice is a bit higher than the original singer, that does not detract from the song’s style or essential question. Barnitt’s tenor is warm, and the horn section is lively and hard-hitting. If a comparison must be made, at times there is  little of Michael Buble in Barnitt’s performance, but with a more crisp edge.

“Touch” the classic song by The Doors gets a unique treatment from Barnitt. He has a knack for making songs sound as though they originated with him. Perhaps that is what happens with a mix of fandom and superior vocal talent. Again, The Paul McDonald Big Band accompanies expertly: the Hammond B3 pushes in with a full and punchy sound, the strings weave delicately around the rest of the instrumentation. It sounds like a rock classic. Barnitt’s voice takes on the smallest edge – – he stops sounding like Buble, but is doing more than just mimicking Jim Morrison. The instrument groups all sustain their energy through that last group of notes. Barnitt’s delivery allows audiences to hone in on the poetry of the song’s lyrics.

Even though it is his second album, “Sway” sounds like a solid introduction to Barnitt’s voice. His version of the Great American Songbook includes songs beloved by multiple generations of listeners. It will be interesting to hear what he does next.

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