Birmingham Sloss Fest profile: Patrick Droney

Birmingham Sloss Fest profile: Patrick Droney
Patrick Droney will perform at Sloss Fest 2018. (Contributed)

Performer: Patrick Droney

Sloss Fest: Playing on the Monster Energy Shed Stage on Sunday, July 15 from 2:30 p.m.-3:15 p.m.

Type of music: New classic

About: For Patrick Droney, it feels like he’s been playing the guitar all his life.

“My earliest memory is of my dad putting an electric guitar, twice my size, over my shoulder and me trying to wrap my hand around the neck,” said Droney, adding that he was about 6 at the time. “My dad was a session/touring guitarist in the late ‘60s and ‘70s who bottle fed me guitarists like B.B. King and Eric Clapton, while at the same time exposing me to songwriting from the Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, etc. I’m really lucky to have received that depth of musical perspective from him at such a young age. I figured out early on that no matter how great the guitar solo, if it’s not in the context of a great song, it doesn’t mean as much.”

It was not long before Droney’s talent became apparent to the world. He played his first “big boy show” with James Brown at age 12 and a year later, won the New Generation Award from the Robert Johnson Foundation. That recognition, said Droney, launched his career, allowing him to perform with his “heroes” in the music business.

“From then on, I was touring and experiencing the feeling of connecting with an audience,” said the young guitarist from New Jersey. “As a musician, it was so cool to be able to share the stage with the people whose record liner notes I would sit and dissect in my bedroom. I owe a debt of gratitude to people like B.B. King and Hubert Sumlin – greats who aren’t around anymore. They gave me permission to carry the torch in my own way. Everything I do has their spirit.”

Droney attended the prestigious Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU and then moved to Los Angeles to focus on songwriting.

More recently, his song, “Looking Out for You,” was released by Andrew Herringer of the band Milo Greene. And Thompson Square’s new album closes with Droney’s “Breakers.”

“You have to live to write,” said Droney, of his philosophy of songwriting. “I’ve learned that a day out in the world listening to the echoes of the human experience as well as embracing your own experience is as mentally hydrating for a songwriter as a rainstorm is for the desert. If I’m having a frustrating block in the writing process, it’s probably because I haven’t given myself the space to be a person.”

High Hope

A post shared by Patrick Droney (@patrick.droney) on

Droney said his songs are shot through with his real-life experiences.

“I feel a responsibility as a songwriter to tell my story because chances are if I feel it, there is someone out there who feels it too but doesn’t have a voice to articulate it,” he said.

Along with performing with musical legends, Droney has gained national acclaim in his own right. He has been featured in people Magazine and Guitar World, and appeared on television shows like Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. He has served as an artist ambassador for the musical instrument manufacturer, Fender.

Droney now lives in Nashville and is working on his debut solo EP, slated for release later this summer.

“I tried to take the songs that represent the different parts of myself and my story,” he said. “Every album is a time stamp and this EP is stamping quite a bit of time. My intention was to make the music feel timeless and connect to the emotional pulse of my listeners, hoping in return they will feel that intention and connect their stories to mine. The record was made with friends and with a lot of heart.”

For Droney, making music is a high calling. His ultimate goal is to become a “vessel” through which his music can flow to his audience.

“I want to leave a fingerprint behind of my time here and be a small part of the rich legacy of songwriters, singers and musicians who have traded in emotional currency for the greater good of our fellow man,” Droney said. “Now more than ever music is the great equalizer. I just want to crusade on behalf of that mission.”

You might have heard: “High Hope,” “Burning by the Minute” and “Everything Burns.”

For fans of: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Johnson and John Mayer.

Social: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Sloss Music and Arts Festival takes place at the historic Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham July 14-15 and features more than 40 performers on four stages. Buy tickets here.

Related Stories