I want to introduce your ears to an acoustic three piece band called Ghost Trains. This traditional folk-rock band are not new to the music scene and they have already released three albums to great reviews. How has it taken me so long to hear of their music is a mystery to me, but at least I have now.
Ghost Trains have a natural folk sound that is so gentle at times, it feels like it’s recorded unplugged. I know that this is the type of sound that the Singer/songwriter Tim Ellis wanted to achieve. I asked him “Who are your influences in your music?” to get an idea on how his music was moulded. He replied:
“I can tell you who I've listened to over the years, but whether they have had any noticeable influence on my writing I'll let you decide! From childhood I've always had time for the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Abba and most good acoustic, harmony-based material. From then I had a mad psychobilly period, following the Meteors, the Stingrays etc. After that I followed several years devoted almost exclusively to post-punk outfit Theatre of Hate/Spear of Destiny - you had to be there to understand! but 'Grapes of Wrath' by Spear of Destiny is still my all time favourite album!
Through my 20's i loved Elvis Costello, Bowie, Squeeze, Radiohead and Supergrass but the material i wrote myself had a definite indie sound - i was always in noisy indie bands, getting the shortest record deal in history in the late 90's - just 2 days, until the guy (who shall remain nameless) changed his mind.
However, i always wrote my songs on the acoustic guitar, so around 2008 i decided to strip everything back to basics and Ghost Trains were born!”
Ghost Trains latest release “For Sale” is described as a ‘Best of’ album. They have chosen some great tracks from their previous albums 'Where Lovers Die', 'Sniffing Round L.A.' and 'Jack & Sunshine as well as a few new tracks. This album was originally planned as a promo cd to generate more attention for their music, but it sounded so good they decided to release it to us listeners.
As for the album itself, it definitely lives up to their motto ‘less is more’ as this back to basics feel has resulted in a great sounding album. This album sounds like what you would expect them to sound live as it has that unplugged feel as mentioned earlier.
As someone who is new to their music, this album is a great introduction (I now have the rest of their music on order). This is an album where the guitar is the star as it sounds so good throughout, I wished I could play the guitar along to this (unfortunately, I’m still rubbish at playing). I love how the vocals are tender and occasionally haunting, but it all sounds great. I am hoping to catch these guys live and compare the live music to their albums.
Picking my favourite tracks was difficult on my first listen as it mellowed me out that much I forgot I was meant to paying attention. I have now heard the album a few times and it keeps getting better, I have also noticed some new favourite tracks. The first track off the album ‘Miss Emily’ will also be a favourite as it was the first track I heard from the band, I love it’s haunting melody and vocals. My other standout tracks off the album is ‘Liar’ and ‘Astronaut’ but they are all so good, I guess that’s why they call it a ‘best of’. I think my favourite track off the album is ‘Rain’, I like the lyrics on this track and how it has a more edgier sound to the rest on the album.
There is still so much more to come from this band and Tim told me about the new album and what we should expect from it:
“The next album of all-new material is already half done, and you can hear the new demos on ghosttrains.net/newdemos - it will still be harmony-based and acoustic-y but I'm hoping to get some more piano and maybe strings onto this one, but we'll see how the songs develop in the studio over the next coupe of months - squeezed in between all the touring we are doing! one thing i feel confident of is that my song writing is getting better and i have high hopes for the finished album!”
‘For Sale’ is on sale NOW, so go to their website (HERE) and grab yourself a copy. I know there are lots of acoustic singer/songwriters out their at the moment but Ghost Trains stand out of that crowd for me. This album gets even better with every listen and I’m so glad their music is part of my collection (it should be part of yours). I can’t wait to hear the new album when it gets released and I’m sure Ghost Trains will be back on my blog again very soon. Until then, check them out at the below sites: