The seeds for Patina were planted when a mutual friend, mentioning their similar musical tastes, introduced songwriter Sam Hopkins and guitarist Bret Agins in 2006. The pair moved in together and began making music in their SE Portland living room with Hopkins’ sister Sarah joining and singing harmony.
Over the subsequent years, a rotating cast of supporting characters came in and out of the band, and a decade later, the Americana outfit released their second record with the solidified six-piece lineup that continues to this day. With Josh Taylor on drums, John MacKay on bass, and Jon Alexander providing keys, organ and accordion, this April saw the group release their third studio album, Hard Luck Sound, recorded at The Hallowed Halls with Justin Phelps. While it took a few years to craft the cohesive collection, the album’s eight tracks include standout moments like horn arrangements by Luis Scheker on the opening "Up With The Birds" and "All I Ever Had" as well as dobro played by Dennis McBride on "The Answer."
Released on April 3, “Sadly our album release show scheduled April 4 at Alberta Street Pub was canceled due to coronavirus-related business closures,” MacKay tells. Fortunately, the band had already spent time in Central Oregon back in November shooting a cinematic video for “All I Ever Had,” directed and edited by Jeffrey Price and filmed by Sam Membrino and Ben Bach.
“I wrote ‘All I Ever Had’ in 2017,” Sam Hopkins says. “Probably in no small part due to what was happening in the world at the time, specifically U.S. foreign affairs, I had been thinking about what it would be like if a war came to United States’ soil. The song started out with longer verses” but became sparse with “a more vague lyric that introduced the idea of a war only in the bridge. It made me think more generally about the idea of what we find most important after experiencing a great loss. That felt more universal.”
After finishing recording, Hopkins sent the completed album to his college friend Price, who’d “worked in Hollywood as an editor for over 10 years,” Hopkins says, asking if he’d help make a music video for one of the songs. Price picked “All I Ever Had” and Hopkins also enlisted his wife, Suzanne Chi, who “is a dancer and co-directs Muddy Feet Contemporary Dance in Portland.” The team “piled into a house in Central Oregon for a weekend and made art happen. It was one of the best weekends of 2019. Suzanne performs with her usual grace and provides the talent on screen and I’m the musician who is ‘acting.’ There is a plot, but what it means is best left up to the viewer.”