Caldwell County native, Patrick Crouch, started playing music as a boy, and music has been central to his life ever since, as a performer, recording artist, recording engineer, middle school band teacher, and enthusiastic promoter of the region’s musicians and venues.
Patrick grew up in Caldwell County with a musical family and community. His father played bluegrass and gospel music, and Patrick was surrounded by the sounds of homemade music from his neighbors as well as popular country, bluegrass, and rock music from radio and records. Patrick recalls toting his guitar to school as an 11-year-old student, singing songs from his Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard records. He also cites his school music teachers as very influential, helping him develop an ear for instrumental music and a strong singing voice. With the support of his teachers and parents, Patrick went to Appalachian State University for a degree in music education. He returned to Caldwell County to direct the Granite Falls Middle School marching band, which he led from 1980-2009.
Outside of school and teaching, Patrick became part of the fabric of Caldwell County roots music. He became close friends and musical comrades with Clarence Greene, Cecil Palmer, and Carolina Ray Whisnant – three legends of an older generation whom Patrick calls important mentors. In 1977, Patrick founded New River Reign, which became a staple at Blowing Rock, NC’s infamous P.B. Scott’s Music Hall. He also played country music with Long Time Gone in the 1980s, and, in 1989, Patrick founded Strictly Clean and Decent with Ron Shuffler and Reggie Harris, a band he continues today with his wife, Kay Crouch, and Shuffler.
In 1998, working with the Caldwell Arts Council, Patrick helped create Caldwell Music Project; he also began the Caldwell Traditional Music Showcase the same year. The annual showcase features Caldwell County musicians who are steeped in the traditional musical styles of the region. Additionally, Grassroots Arts Program grants funded a series of 10 recordings in 10 years, an effort to document over 100 Caldwell County traditional musicians at the turn of the millennium. Patrick has also engineered and produced many more recordings for bands and local artists, including his own releases with Strictly Clean and Decent, at his home studio, Ticknock Studio.
In addition to recording and performing with Strictly Clean and Decent, Patrick performs regularly as a duet with his wife, Kay. He also plays weekly in Charlotte with the Red Rocking Chair, alongside Jack Lawrence, Tom Kuhn, and Dale Meyer. Patrick often performs with Jim Avett and Family, and he is known to freelance with many of the local and regional string bands. Proficient on nearly every instrument with strings and many without, Patrick is a quality singer on lead and harmony parts, and he is a natural band leader when called upon to fill the role.
Patrick is available for performances with Strictly Clean & Decent, as a duet with his wife, Kay, and in other configurations. Patrick is also available for classes, consultations, demonstrations, educational programs, school programs, and workshops.