Spotlight on Esme Patterson: Singing the Other Side of a Love Song

by Elle Brosh


A wistful blend of folk acoustics and kittenish pop synths are just half of Denver-based musician Esme Patterson’s new album, Woman To Woman. Patterson is well known for her work as a vocalist for the band Paper Bird and has performed and collaborated with other groups like Tennis, Shakey Graves, Nathaniel Rateliff, Nick Jaina, and Reed Foehl. This is Patterson’s second solo release and it couldn’t be coming out at a better time.

Patterson’s newest musical work may sound delicate and ephemeral, but its message is much more than a pretty recording; this lovely songstress has joined the fight against a male-dominated music industry. Woman to Woman aims to not only reconstitute the ‘love song’ itself, but also to humanize some of pop music’s  female protagonists by equipping them with a voice of their own. Each track on the record is written from the perspective of the female names mentioned in famous songs like Elvis Costello’s “Alison,” The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,”and Townes Van Zandt’s “Lorettea.” Patterson’s album reveals her own unique rendition of the women’s responses to those songs, as they could have been.

Patterson notes, “I got angrier, thinking how one-sided and subjective a lot of ‘love songs’ are, and how a lot of women immortalized in songs might tell a different side of the story if anyone ever asked.”

Though Patterson serves as the dispatcher for all the women lost somewhere behind the fame and fortune of their male admirers, her exquisite lyrics and melodies make for a soul-stirring and highly original piece of art. While Woman to Woman is a stunning example of music’s powerful political capabilities, the album is a terrific gift for any listener.

Woman to Woman will be released on April 15th via the Greater Than Collective. You can hear a song snippet here, and see a live performance of Patterson’s hauntingly lovely “Bluebird” below. This song was written in response to “Eleanor Rigby.”

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