Pat Brousseau - Bass, Guitar (electric and acoustic), fiddle, mandolin, vocals
Styles and Influences
Pat started playing guitar and singing when he was almost still in diapers with his Dad, Mom, brothers, sisters and friends mostly on weekend kitchen parties and get togethers and was heavily inspired by The Louvin Brothers, Johnny & Jack and Flatt and Scruggs.
Since there was always plenty of instruments kicking around home (fiddles mandolins, guitars etc.) as well as an abundance of guitar players, Pat decided to pick up his Dad's mandolin and it just continued from there. Singing and vocal harmonies was an integral part of the family jams. Mom and Dad would sing duets that would give you goose pimples right down to your toes.
Pat soon realized the importance of good lead singing and strong harmony vocals and this highly impacted his musical career to this day. The family and friends played mostly French Canadian, bluegrass and country music and are Pat's roots.
A blind guitar picker and professional singer from the East coast of Canada by the name of Bill McCormick performed with Pat's dad, family and friends in the Brousseau family living room. This was a monumental moment in Pat's life and gave him the necessary direction and also sparked the desire to pursue his acoustic flatpicking in those early years.
In his teen years and as Pat progressed musically he found he was starting to expand his style to include 12 string and electric guitars after he started hearing bands like Creedence Clearwater Revival, Led Zeppelin, Rush and the like. These were the years that Pat also started writing songs and co-writing with his friends.
The High School years and the social scene was mostly house and bush parties and this is where Pat did a lot of entertaining and playing along with other musicians as they experimented with different musical sounds and ideas. Pat still managed to maintain his country and bluegrass roots through these teenage years and eventually connected with other musicians with similar roots. It was at this point Pat saw the door to his musical future open, and walked through it.
Many years in the music and entertainment industry have produced many highlights in Pat's career.
As a co-founder and the first president of the successful Brantford Bluegrass Club he was influential in developing one of the first bluegrass clubs in this area and during this time booked some major American Bluegrass acts that included Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver , Bob Paisley and the award winning Canadian band Denis Lepage and Station Road.
Over the next several years, The Brantford Bluegrass Club concerts were influential in the future development of some of the finest Canadian bluegrass musicians. During this time, Pat's involvement expanded his knowledge and connection to the wider bluegrass world and this fed his hunger for more.
Pat met Roger Olner, a local musician, and found a common ground picking Smiley Bates and Doc Watson tunes and singing traditional bluegrass and country songs. Pat was getting great joy using his flatpicking skills that he had been developing since his childhood and his Bill McCormick experience.
Roger and Pat started to play some local gigs and occasionally invited other musicians such as Claude Bruyere(fiddle), Mike Stiver(banjo), and Neil Stoneman (mandolin) to join them for some of these early shows. This eventually led to another bluegrass adventure .
Crystal Springs started when Pat joined up with Wayne Johnson(mandolin and vocals) Robin Maracle (vocals and autoharp), Hub Maracle(banjo) and Terry Smith(standup bass).They played throughout Ontario and the northern U.S. for a number of years with great success and developed a band following. During this time they recorded a self titled album which they marketed during their appearances.
Eventually the band personnel changed with Pat and Wayne as the original founders of the band and the addition of Mike Stiver(banjo and vocals) and Guy Tellier(standup bass ). This band honed their musical abilities as they toured a larger area that included all the major Canadian Bluegrass festivals and club venues available.
Only a few bluegrass bands including Crystal Springs played full time in Canada and this was a further development in Pat's professional career. With this band Pat played such places as Festival of Friends-Hamilton, Carlisle Bluegrass Festival-Carlisle, Barton's Inn- New Dundee and was exposed to some of the larger audiences.
Live Television and Radio broadcasts were the medium at this time and Pat was furthering his career in this area with Crystal Springs appearing regularly .
Pat met Paul Howell the bass player/lead singer with Denis Lepage and Station Road and sat in occasionally as a side musician and became friends with all the band members. Paul introduced Pat to a young guitar picker named Richard Gulley and when Richard competed and won the Winfield Kansas National guitar player title it was with Pat playing at his side.
It was during this time that Guy Wilkes, a member of Whisky Hollow called Pat. He mentioned that Paul Howell had suggested that Pat would be a good fit for the bass position that Whisky Hollow was looking to fill.
Soon after Pat met the boys in the band and nervously auditioned for the position of bass player and singer and was hired on the spot. Now started the Whisky Hollow adventure !!!
The next several years would prove to be some of the most exciting times in Pat’s musical career. After a few short rehearsals and learning the band’s material, they set out to performing some of the shows in a very busy schedule. Changing music forms from bluegrass to country rock was quite a challenge for Pat but he felt that was exactly what the doctor ordered in that period of his life.
The schedule included places like J.B.’s Corral - Niagara Falls , Brantford Villages Festival, Dallas - Hamilton, Ontario Place - Toronto, Toronto Exhibition and Picadilly House -London to name a few.
Of course recording a new album was taking place at the same time, so there was not many weeks of the year that did not include music. Many hours were spent in the studio recording “We Know Better” and when there was any spare time in between concerts and appearances Pat was busy doing recording sessions for commercials and jingles.
After a lot of hard work on the album it was released and soon followed by single releases of We Know Better, Hey Bottle of Whiskey, and Old Train along with the B sides. It was quite a thrill for Pat to hear himself sing Old Train on the radio air waves and was very satisfying knowing country rock could also blend with bluegrass tastes.
After touring for several years and recording “We Know Better” the band started working on television again and produced live music videos and appeared on The Rock Country show on CHCH TV. Another very exciting time was coming to an end for Whisky Hollow as everyone had different things happening in their lives. The band chose to finish the commitments in the schedule and take a long needed rest.
After Whisky Hollow
One band Pat joined up with was Double Diamond with Pat on bass, Fatty Smith on drums,. Barry Kirk on guitar and Joey Allain on pedal steel. The repertoire was songs like Paperback Writer (Beatles) and New York New York (Huey Lewis and the News) and other top 40, classic rock and blues numbers.
This then led to a band, consisting of bandmates Fatty and Pierre Maher and later joined by Linda Smith and Sue Maher on vocals, named Replay with a play list that included Beatles, Shirelles, The Hollies, and Beach Boys. Then came the trio Thompson Road with Danny Desmond on guitar and Tom Wells on drums with a blues and classic rock repertoire including Mercury Blues(Allan Jackson), Why Me (Delbert McClinton) and the famous classic Mustang Sally.
Along came Pat’s pride and joy , his son Eric and this really changed Pat’s priorities and focus for the next several years as he focused on raising his son.
All the while Pat managed to keep his fingers in the mix by filling in with some bands such as Common Thread, Grumpies, Old Chicago, performances with old friends, and played whatever instrument was needed or missing on these jobs. His creative juices were kept from stagnating by doing such things as songwriting and he spent a good bit of time working in his long time friend’s studio (Mike Stiver - Freightyard Recording) recording demos of his original compositions and experimenting with some new sounds .
The Whisky Hollow Reunion became a reality in 2006 and this led to forming the “NEW” Whisky Hollow band with Pat concentrating on electric and acoustic guitars along with his singing duties both lead and harmony vocals. We can only wait and watch where this will bring Pat next, as he works out a new repertoire with the newly formed band and brings in new and original material to give this band the updated and leading edge sound that they are now pursuing.