the ghost particles “the ghost particles”

Artisanal Records, 2022

An excellent album from a band of mature, experienced musicians making their debut.

If you look at a photo of the ghost particles (yes, all lowercase for some reason known only to themselves) then there’s an argument for getting the band an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest band ever to record their debut album – these are not a band of newcomers! Consisting of Phil Davis on guitar, Joel Tappero on bass, Don Irwin on keyboards, and Dave Benton on various instruments, these Madison, Wisconsin musicians have come together a little late in life to make a superb album, bringing all that wealth of experience to the studio and coming out with eleven excellent tracks.

The songs on the eponymously named album are all written by Davis who’s the driving force behind the band and even he describes the music as “mature Americana/rock/folk-rock-pop”  and that’s exactly what the music on the album sounds like. Davis is also quoted as saying “We are not young, but we have some perspective, and that’s a songwriting advantage” and he’s right there too. Oscar Wilde said that “With age comes wisdom” and that wisdom has enabled Davis to write some songs that he probably wouldn’t have been able to write in his twenties as he wouldn’t have had the experience and insight that he has now. There are songs about winning and losing, wanting, friendship, life, relationships and love – lots of songs on that subject. Davis has a world, weary voice that conveys all the things he’s gone through as he moves through life, dealing with everything the world has thrown at him.

Unusually the album was recorded by each musician in their own personal studios and then sent off to Minneapolis producer, drummer, and mixer, Jeremy Tappero,  who working from his own studio, collaborated with the band and put everything together. The sound is definitely influenced by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and Davis’s voice has echoes of both Petty and mid-period Dylan. The whole album is underpinned by Irwin’s keyboards which give the album a distinctive flavour be it on organ or piano and that’s aided and abetted by some superb harmonica playing along with some delightful harmonies from the band. All of these elements are best showcased on the albums closing track, the gentle ballad ‘One Day You’ll Find’ which has an almost cinematic, big sky sound conjuring up images of rural Wisconsin with its lyrics referencing hillsides, fields, forests and highways. It’s a fine way to end ‘the ghost particles’ a fine album from this band of mature musicians who have been around for a while and have poured all their many years of experience into their debut album which is well worth a listen however old you are.

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