Patrick Sky was one of the most enigmatic performers of 1960s folk music. With Creek Indian and Irish ancestry, Sky first attracted attention singing the traditional folk songs that he learned from a grandmother as a child. Sky was equally influenced by the satirical writing of Will Rogers and the topical songs of Woody Guthrie. Beginning with his recordings of the late '60s, Sky's songs became increasingly political and outspoken. Sky's most confrontational album, Songs That Made America Famous, recorded in March 1971, was rejected by several record labels before being released on Sky's own label, Rainbow Collection, two years later.
Sky spent most of his childhood in the LaFouche Swamp region of Louisiana, the ancestral home of the Creek Indians. As a youngster, Sky learned to play guitar, banjo, and harmonica. Although he performed in several local clubs, Sky gave little thought to a career in music until he had attended college and spent a couple of years in the Army. Upon his discharge, he began to perform in folk music clubs and coffeehouses throughout the United States.
Settling into New York's Greenwich Village in the early '60s, Sky became an important member of the then-thriving folk music community. Sky's self-titled debut album, released in 1965, included several original tunes including "Many a Mile," which was adopted as the title track of an album recorded by his then-girlfriend, Buffy Sainte-Marie. Sky's song "Love Will Endure" was covered by The Blues Project on their 1967 album, Live At Town Hall.
Sky continued to increase his repertoire of musical instruments over the years. In addition to becoming known as a builder of the Irish uilleann pipes, which he mastered as a player, he incorporated the traditional Native American mouth-bow. In 2009 the husband-and-wife duo of Patrick & Cathy Sky released Down to Us, an album of traditional Irish music featuring Patrick on uilleann pipes and Cathy on fiddle. ~ Craig Harris
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