Left of the Dial - Jan. 24th, 2009

January 24, 2009

Ghostwriter/Wreck the City: End of the West Records

Filed under: Uncategorized — leftofthedialmag @ 4:30 am

With scroungy one-man-band blues-punk pilfering, Ghostwriter comes round the bend like a hillbilly Tom Waits stompin’ and hollering “Blue Eyed Girl” with phlegmy finesse. Sure, his ragged, bottom-hollow voice doesn’t paint any daisies, but his overall grit and panache ensure that you’ll listen hard, not lounge, and maybe knock some spoons on your skinny kneecap. “Everyone’s got a breaking point” one gal narrator says, inhabiting the song like a bruised and battered bird of paradise lost. She might have learned a few important things from ex-cons and junkies, but likely her own stamina and survival has taught her far more. “Clean Slate” runs down thru guilt trip lane, you know, the bad feeling one gets after leaving someone stranded and abandoned by the side of the road. In fact, loss and longing gets knee deep fast on this album. On the tune “Captain,” the whole world, and not some lone person, “has left me behind.” The tale of Jesus and the proverb about trying to squeeze blood from a stone is not likely to stir any faith either; instead, the narrator seeks a deal with the devil so he can retire to the open sea and shove his belongings in the nook of a sea wreck. In all, this is Fat Possum Records territory: it’s rife with black tar zeal and homemade booze bottomed-nights while cutting one’s lips on front porch twang. Though the muddy Mississippi doesn’t grope the towns of Oregon, this Northwest transplant has figured out a way to grab a fistful of the muck and make it roar, in skake bite moans, across this shotgun shack floor. For one man, there’s an awful lot of roil and ruckus in these bony refrains.

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