A true poet with a guitar, Patrick Dodd is an American songwriter with an uncommon creative edge that is both impressive and unique. One of the most prolific songwriters of his generation with over 400 songs to his credit, Patrick Dodd is an Austin Texas trained songwriter, and contemporary of Blaze Foley, Jimmy Lafave, Guy Clark, and Townes Van Zandt. Being a bit of an Outlaw, we were expecting Patrick to follow the same path as his friends. However, the influence of his then new found lover/now wife Mary, and good friends like Anne Feeney, inspired Patrick to change course. Like Woody Guthrie, Utah Phillips, and others before him, Patrick decided to employ his talents in the interest of social justice.
As a social justice songwriter Patrick has provided us with more well-crafted musical moments of relevance for these critical times of crumbling empires than nearly any other artist who comes to mind. As an activist, and a songwriter, Mr. Dodd has never been one to shy away from political or controversial subjects just to protect his spot in main stream music. In fact his dedication to being the songwriter for the disenfranchised led to his induction early in his life into the Scottish Royal Academy of Lifetime Political Folksinger and has seen his music used in numerous documentaries and films, as well as, theme music for top progressive radio shows like Tom Hartman's and Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now". It became impossible to book gigs on the folk music circuit; it seems Patrick's music at the time was even too radical for the "Woodie Guthrie Folk Festival" in Oklahoma. Patrick was better suited for the "rickety stages of the ongoing revolution" than coffee houses and folk festivals of the day where he had performed durring his early "Outlaw" era. Patrick spent decades employing his music at the grass roots level in the interest of native rights, environmental justice, economic justice, racial justice, peace,... From the homeless in Eugene durring the "homeless wars" to the tree sitters in Oregon forests to gay rights marches, and more, Patrick has used his music to empower those subjugated and fighting for justice. One of Patrick's most conflicted moments was showing up for a gay pride march to find the lyrics to one of his songs printed and handed out for the masses to sing. The song was credited to "anonymous". For Patrick it was a sign that his work may manage to outlive him; an honor and a curse, for this sort of immortality is something every artist hopes for; but, every social justice songwriter fears. It would be of much greater reward to become irrelevant. Today, Patrick is no longer able to travel or perform, but he takes great pride in knowing that his music played a small part in achieving good things such as the reform that took place in Eugene Oregon in how homeless people are treated post the Opportunity Shelter, Free Speech Plaza Occupation, Armitage Park, and other direct actions. After a lifetime of social justice music and direct action, Patrick and his wife retired to the woods of Southern Oregon.
While still involved in the forest defense movement and performing a few times for labor, Patrick settled into a life of peaceful forest living with his family. Of course writers write and that is what Patrick continued to do even in "retirement". In the interest of fun and a radio show he produced with his partner, Patrick returned to his roots, and while "commercial" music has not been Patrick's focus; his outlaw country music is over the top in craftsmanship, creativity, and just plain entertaining. Again his lyrical genus presents in his work as is clear by several recent recordings, including Patrick' s most recent album, "Last Few Miles". Though Mr. Dodd at that time reveled in calling himself a scumbag country writer his musical style was really as eclectic as his subject matter; he dove into outlaw country, folk, punk rock, jazz and Broadway style progressions with equal ease, using genres in the way some writers use arrangements to showcase his always impressive lyrical poetry.
An activist with a self-confessed twisted sense of humor, from his role as co-host of the Siskiyou Mountain Outlaw Radio Show to his front row position on the lines of social resistance, Patrick Dodd has for forty years been a writer whose music always seems to find a way to move us in a direction we need to go. Whether he is making us laugh, cry, or get downright angry Mr. Dodd always strives to educate, motivate, and empower folks everywhere to stand up and resist the injustices so many other writers seem afraid to broach; injustices such as poverty, war, racism, sexism, and our ongoing environmental destruction. It is no exaggeration to say that few songwriters have had more of an impact upon the social fabric of positive change in this country than Patrick Dodd.
Sadly, today Patrick can no longer play due to a medical condition; but, he has left us a rich catalogue of original music.