One of the most prominent under-the-radar acoustic blues virtuosos in America is New York based musician Pat Wictor – with a striking, long red mane. Any fan of the traditional blues will be shocked and awed at the sheer virtuoso and musical brilliance of this startling performer who has mastered multiple instruments, but is primarily a transcendental singer/guitarist in both lapsteel and standard formats. He occasionally teaches guitar and is a genuinely nice person, a kind-hearted, easy going chap.
Wictorʼs signature sound is clean and understated, not a note too many. He annunciates each note and plays with a simple, eloquent feeling and advanced virtuosity. A diverse stylist, his repertoire includes a wide range of traditional blues, each true to the original but arranged and performed with creative individualism, with that special, impressive Wictor touch. His playing is not just highly expressive and sophisticated, he manages to evoke the original masters in almost eerie ways. There are few musicians who can take on difﬁcult pieces, like Skip Jamesʼ “Hard Time Killinʼ Floor”, in Bentonia tuning, a song that many a lesser men have destroyed with insensitive mimicking, without understanding the musical essence of taking a song with such painful thematic. Wictor is able to capture the agonizing reality of the song, the pain and haunting delivery of Skip James, yet he makes the song his own both as a singer and guitarist. Few mortals can do justice to Skip James and even fewer can still cover Robert Johnson and make it sound fresh and unique. Wictorʼs got it going because his extraordinary musicality is foremost rooted in understanding and respecting the traditional, while sensitively interpreting the songs. He manages to infuse an almost playful, yet tasteful, improvisation while maintaining a beautiful sense of melody. His formidable technical prowess as a guitar virtuosity is properly channeled and well restrained, never overpowering the songs with over-arched noodling and show-off pretentiousness.
His music is, if anything, tinged with a sweet-sensitivity, a gentleness. This is the antonym to ﬁery, angry, furious blues. If anything Wictor has a tendency to sometimes be over-gentle.
Saying it simply, he will blow you away, particularly on lapsteel– which he plays on a Guild. While he can ﬁngerpick like the best of them, he is an absolute madman on the lapsteel. Unquestionably, anyone who has ever heard a Wictor show will permanently place him in the company of the best in the genre- Harry Manx, Kelly Joe Phellps and Ed Gerhard. Pat Wictor is getting much attention on the East Coast, performing at major festivals and making quite the buzz, quite deservedly. Rank him high and check him out at the soonest.
Pat Wictor currently performs folk-tinged musical trio “ Brother Sun” which is not blues oriented. Blues fans are best off searching out his solo work, with several great CDs available, all containing a fair share of great acoustic blues.