Artist Biography

Photography by Shannon Atkinson

Patrick is a lifelong resident of Louisiana, born in Port Sulphur and raised in Gramercy. The second youngest of seven children, he was surrounded my musicians. His father, Thomas Ard Sylvest, was a song leader in church and his mother, Eloise Sobert Sylvest, a pianist. Patrick’s older siblings were all quite accomplished at many instruments and all are fine singers and harmonizers. The seven siblings performed spiritual music as a group for years, providing music for many friends’ weddings. Patrick’s first guitars belonged to his elder brothers; there was always an instrument lying around somewhere and at the age of 14, he took to it in earnest. He began writing original songs shortly after picking up the guitar for the first time. Since his earliest guitarist/songwriter influences were his elder brothers, songwriting seemed the natural activity to pursue. Both Tom Sylvest Jr. and John Sylvest were prolific writers, though they only shared their creations with family and close friends. This familial sharing still provides Patrick with inspiration, and a few of his brothers' songs were included on his 'Sylvestrings' CD.
Carrying his guitar with him to his dorm rooms throughout his college years, he shared his love of music with friends and classmates. Pursuing a career in nursing and subsequently in anesthesia whilst raising a family, Patrick put his musical pursuits to rest for a spell, relegating that activity to dwindling leisure hours.
Patrick was a finalist in the 2008, 13th Annual USA Songwriting Contest with his song, 'A Little Less Louisiana' , the title cut from his 2007 debut CD. The song laments the tragedy of Louisiana's vanishing coastline, an issue omnipresent in the minds of Louisiana natives, especially in the southeastern reaches of the state.
He placed second in the Rockygrass Dobro Contest in 2008, a pleasant surprise while on vacation in Lyons, Colorado that summer!
Patrick has opened shows for Jim Lauderdale, Guy Clark, Irene Kelley, Claire Lynch, Spencer Bohren and many other notable artists. He has played in several groups serving as dobro and mandolinist for the Lafayette, LA based 'Folklure' and Thibodaux, LA based 'Moss Pickers' String Bands. In January 2012, he and Brent 'Moon' Melancon formed the Gypsy Jazz duo, ‘Hot Club de Lune’. Brent is also the guitarist mastermind behind the Louisiana Rockabilly group, 'The Americanos'. ‘Hot Club de Lune’ will reconstitute when Brent returns from gigging in Romania and Europe as a Blues and Jazz Artist extraordinaire!


About the Music

Photography by   Shannon Atkinson

Photography by Shannon Atkinson

If I had to characterize my music I guess I'd call it 'Louisianacana'. My influences range from Rock, Blues and Jazz to Gospel, Cajun, Country, Bluegrass and Folk. I love it all! When I go into the studio, I take all of this with me and what I come out with is classic Acoustic Americana and undeniably Louisiana. It's difficult to put me in a single category beyond Singer/Songwriter, because that would depend on which song you were enjoying. References to Louisiana life run through it all; ‘A Little Less Louisiana’, ‘Collard Greens’, ‘Highway 90’, ‘Those Lands’, ‘Ode to Rans McGaskey’, ‘Ballad of Hurricane Isaac’ being the most obvious tracks. The bluegrass instruments like dobro, mandolin, and banjo on many of my tracks may take some by surprise, but these tones are often found in many contemporary country recordings and I'm so happy to share them in my deep south Louisiana creations.
I would be remiss not to mention the virtuosic contributions of Rob Ickes and Andy Leftwich on the 'Little Less Louisiana' CD. Rob provided the dobro and Andy the fiddle and mandolin to the songs on that cd. Rob Ickes performs with the bluegrass super group, ‘Blue Highway’ and has been named IBMA dobro player of the year 11 times! Andy Leftwich serves as fiddler for Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder! Special thanks to producer Harry Robinson of Franklin, TN for making that happen! (psst, Harry Robinson was Lee Greenwood’s guitarist and band leader). ‘A Little Less Louisiana’ was produced at ‘Cuppa joe Records’ in Franklin, TN.
The ‘Sylvestrings’ CD features my own playing on the dobro, mandolin, and lap steel and the title is an intentional hint at that effort. Lloyd Maines, famed pedal steel guitarist of Austin, TX and member of the ‘Austin City Limits Hall of Fame’ was kind enough to contribute the pedal steel magic on the song ‘Perfect Man’ for that CD.
Both ‘Sylvestrings’ and ‘Lonesome Troubadour’ were co-produced with Louisiana Music Hall of Famer, Randy Walsh, at Stray Records Studios in Bayou Goula, LA. What would those records be without Randy’s contributions, especially on the violin, viola and cello?
My latest album, Released in 2014, is called, ‘Lonesome Troubadour’. This collection of 11 original songs is heavy on finger-style acoustic guitar, but not limited to that style. There is a bit of Rock, Jazz, and Americana that may provide a surprise here and there. The title, ‘Lonesome Troubadour’ is in reference to the solitary nature of an artist’s work. In the creative arts, regardless of medium, the mission to create is done, most often, alone. This album is dedicated to all artists who toil.


Consider this poetic dedication by John S. Sylvest, included on the inside cover of the CD Wallet:


This vineyard's lonely
Though filled with neighbors
Working side by side
All anonymous laborers

Philosophers, painters, troubadours, poets
All plant the seed of beauty
Hoping we might grow it

All graft the limbs of goodness
Cultivate the roots of truth
That we might harvest
The love, the fruits

Thus artists toil in solitude
Seeking no reward, not even gratitude
As truth, beauty, goodness, love
Without human designs or devices
In their pursuit, alone,
For each Lonesome Troubadour suffices

John S. Sylvest © 2014