‘Psychedelic soul’ singer Esmé Patterson to play The Burl

Denver-based indie musician Esmé Patterson will play a set of her psychedelic soul music at the Burl in Lexington on Wednesday, Oct. 11.

The show will be Patterson’s second visit to the city this year, after visiting the Manchester Music Hall while touring with country-punk outfit Lucero. This time, she’s making a stop in the city before co-headlining a set of tour dates with South Carolina band SUSTO.

Some musicians go for a certain emotional response in the listener with their work. Patterson’s last effort, “We Were Wild,” has clear folk and rock traits, but she said she decided to leave the emotional intent up to the listener.

“We just try to open up a space where people are free to feel whatever they’d like and free to be whoever they’d like,” Patterson said. “You know, just kinda open their heart up a little bit to their neighbor, hopefully, and have a good time.”

Patterson described the recording sessions, which happened “a couple of winters ago” in Portland, Oregon, as a careful process.

“Much like an onion, we just kept peeling at layers that continued to unfold, but I’m very happy with how it turned out, she said.”

A highlight of the project was getting the chance to work with Adam Thompson, the album’s produce, she said.

“It was a really positive experience working with him. He’s just a joy, and a force of nature,” Patterson said. 

Patterson’s own musical tastes include a fondness for classic jazz, especially the work of harp player and pianist Alice Coltrane.

“Transcendence is one of my favorite records of hers. I listen to it at this time of year, it’s very mysterious and spooky and nice,” she said.

Listen to Patterson’s music here.

She also expressed her appreciation for the late Tom Petty, who she counts among her favorite songwriters of all time.

“I got to see him play on this last tour that he did, which was really incredible. Just, the way he’s able to be so honest and so incredibly cool, but so totally earnest and straightforward,” Patterson said. “He’s hard on himself, but he’s just putting it all out there in his songwriting. I’ve been inspired by him more now than ever.”

Another source of inspiration for Patterson, she said, were instrumentals and songs from beyond the States.

“When I’m writing a new album, I don’t really listen to a lot of music with words that I can understand as often,” she said. “I’ve been listening to [Mali folk rock group] Tinariwen’s new album a lot, and I love it so much. The guitar tones are really inspiring and cool.”

Before starting her solo career with 2012’s All Princes, Patterson established herself with the indie folk group Paper Bird. Patterson sang vocals alongside her sister Genevieve, and Mark and Sarah Anderson for eight years, before deciding it was time to forge her own path.

“I’m proud of the work I did in that group. I think it’s important to learn at some point how to work with other people,” Patterson said. “I think your work gets better if you know how to compromise, but I’m also so glad to be where I am now. My vision has become a lot more clear.”

“It’s really fun to play with the group of musicians that I’m with now, they’re really incredible,” Patterson said. “I think that’s important in music. If you’re not having fun, you’re wasting your time.”

Esmé Patterson’s album “We Were Wild” is available now on physical and digital formats through Grand Jury Music. She will play at the Burl in Lexington’s Distillery District on Wednesday, Oct. 11, with support from Western Movies and Daisy Helmuth.