‘Til June, Debut Album from Kerrville Folk Finalist & Boston Music Award Nominee Prateek, Shows Him to Be Promising New Voice in Americana with Incisive Songwriting
“Prateek’s honest, elegant songcraft and luminous voice capture the ear and heart immediately.”
—The Boston Globe
Americana standout artist PRATEEK released his single “No Fun” today, saying, “I stopped drinking in 2017, after one night of blacking out, throwing up in several inappropriate places, and having to walk to work the next morning because I’d abandoned my car at the bar the night before. While I’m lucky that this decision came with relatively little emotional baggage compared to some folks that I know, it still had its ups and downs. The hardest thing was feeling that without drinking, I’d abandoned the only way to have fun and meet people as a twenty-something. Add in a few years of reflection and a healthy dose of snark, and ‘No Fun’ was born, then transformed by the studio band into the rollicking rock song I’d always imagined.”
A Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk Finalist; and New England Music Award and Boston Music Award nominee (respectively), PRATEEK is set to insert himself into the conversation of best new Americana artists with his debut album ’Til June, out April 7. The music is crafted to inspire rooms full of fans singing along, PRATEEK delivers a necessary message. “Someone who’s been feeling alone for whatever reason, mental illness, addiction, other differences, I hope they come away after listening feeling less alone.” He adds, with a smile, “But I also want people to really just enjoy this album.”
PRATEEK crosses intensity and personal, vulnerable, open writing with an epic sound that ricochets between indie-folk, rock & roll, soul music, alt.country, folk, classic country, blues, influenced by several generations of Americana icons like Jason Isbell and John Hiatt, no strangers to eclecticism themselves, in tightly-written, powerful songs. PRATEEK and his producer, New England Music Award- and Boston Music Award-winner Sean Laughlin (Elliott Smith, Parsonsfield, Andy Johns), together concocted gritty electric guitars, silvery backing vocals, and a driving rhythm section.
A noir-blues song, album kickoff track “Diamonds” sets the soundscape for the album. A song that went through various incarnations, PRATEEK says, “Producer Sean McLaughlin and I came up with the lumbering, fuzzed out arrangement on this album.” Meanwhile, the soul music arrangement of “You’re Still On My Mind” with a full horn section lets PRATEEK let his emotions out in full.
The songwriter does not shy away from hard-to-talk-about matters. He tackles sobriety from a different angle on “The Gang’s All Gone,” about being the last guy at the bar, inspired by stories his brother had told him about former drinking buddies going through dark periods. It kicks off with the trenchant lyrics:
“No one likes you when you’re stoned.
They just hate to be alone.
But not so much they’ll take you home.”
Another of the album’s songs that will hit the listener unsparingly is “Wrong,” As the Indian-American songwriter explains, “Racism affects far more than we give it credit for, and one perhaps under-discussed part of its domain is romance. I’d always grown up believing I was ugly because I’d never heard anyone who looked like me being described as attractive. When Indian people came up in discussion, it was almost always as objects of mockery.” The song describes a true, painful memory of a dialogue, in which a sexual partner was uncomfortable with him in bed due to his race.
The understated title track conveys deeply-felt longing about wanting to hold his current romantic partner—but not because of strife. PRATEEK recalls, “When we started dating in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. We could only meet outside, six feet apart, and stare longingly at each other – maybe hold hands.”
“If I Were a Dog” brings a smile—and reminds one of John Prine. “You’re No One ‘Til Someone Breaks Your Heart” is stellar classic country that could have come from the pens of Loretta Lynn or Willie Nelson.
Some of Boston’s best musicians join him in the sessions, led by producer and electric bassist Sean McLaughlin as well as Cody Nilsen (lead guitar), Justin Nash Fisher (electric guitar), Max Ridley (upright bass), Chris Bloniarz (organ, piano, banjo, mandolin), Taylor Holland (backing vocals), and Heather Scott (backing vocals).
Without a day job, several years ago, struggling to pay the bills, Kerrville Folk Festival brought some much-needed confidence in his music. PRATEEK says, “I didn’t know what to expect and I expected a lot and it really did live up to those expectations.” That may only be the beginning for this promising artist.
PRATEEK Tour Dates
April 6 – Club Passim – Cambridge, MA
‘Til June tracklist
2. The Gang’s All Gone
3. You’re Still On My Mind
4. If You Want a Man
6. If I Were a Dog
7. No Fun
8. ‘Til June
9. You’re No One ‘Til Someone Breaks Your Heart
10. When You Were Loved