Klef Notes

Music Reviews

Ghostly Beard's “Invisible”

Why do we toast by clinking the glass to show affection or appreciation?  Because we want all of our senses to be involved at that moment – we taste the drink, we see the drink, we touch the glass, and we smell the liquid, so now we can HEAR the moment.  Ah, how the invisible in our lives can affect each and every sense in our physical bodies. 

When we think of Earthly elements that are invisible that evoke so much power and awe, two things come to mind:  gravity and the wind.  We cannot see these elements but we can experience the power and effects of their presence.  

Like the wind and gravity, love is another element that is invisible but affects our entire being in so many ways – love can be felt, can be a driving force to reshape, can pull you in all directions, can bring you up, can spiral you down, can leave you lifeless or listless, and can even define your journey.  So it is only fitting that Ghostly Beard chose “Invisible” as the title of his newest album to demonstrate how this one INVISIBLE element called LOVE can affect so many things that are visible in one’s life. 

I was first introduced to Ghostly Beard (Patrick Talbot) during the release of his early EP entitled “Infinite” to which I reviewed July of this year.  On “Infinite,” we were able to see the multiple layers of talent contained within the singer/songwriter/musician through his more Progressive Rock collection.  Still having a bit of mystery to him, and still showing his guitar genius, Ghostly Beard has now elusively and skillfully drew back some more layers on this newer album called “Invisible” released officially October 20th of 2017. 

On this primarily Jazz collection, we are able to see more of the man behind the mask to where he displays the influence of that invisible sentiment called love and all of its many facets.  

Ghostly Beard gives us eleven tracks on “Invisible” that ingeniously grips different subgenres of Jazz: 

1. Upper Hand

2. Set Me Free

3. How Can I?

4. A Reason to Leave

5. Blue

6. Lazy (from Time to Time)

7. The Odds of Our Lives

8. I Dream of You

9. Along the Road

10. Fool

11. Someday 

This is a review of “Invisible.”  My focus will be on the eight tracks I feel greatly show the depth of Ghostly Beard’s interweaving theme. 

With the first track on the album, we are warmly introduced to vulnerability, sensitivity, and even naivety.  Almost John Lennon like in its vocal execution, “Upper Hand” expresses the topic of how one can become lost within a relationship when both parties are seeking different goal destinations – sometimes opposites DO NOT attract.  Indeed in situations like this, love takes a back seat as the altering scenario forces the two individuals to adapt to fulfill their needs, as Ghostly Beard sings “we’ve been together for a million years, it seems/all this time was not a walk in the park/now that our worlds have such a disconnect, ah well/let’s turn the page and forget about that.”  Later he sings “you clearly thought I was a fool/you took me for granted, now that is so uncool/I’ve tried my best to keep the upper hand/now tell me what is so hard to understand?”  Love was lost in translation - who really has the upper hand, the one keeping the peace so the relationship continues to thrive or the one planning to move on?  A pleasing combo of Jazz and Soft Rock, Ghostly Beard wonderfully fastened this track with a spectacular horn section and the chord progression is ah-some.  When listening to this cut, pay special attention to the 1 minute 53 second mark, seriously, it is going to elevate you.  Then at the 2 minute 13 second mark, the song slows down to a nice slow groove.  The song ends with a solid guitar solo and is followed by a track that holds a wonderful surprise. 

“Set Me Free” contains a wonderful surprise – as appealing as it is to listen in and be greeted first by a smooth piece of Jazz, it was so refreshing to hear a twist and be introduced to some 1970’s Funk elements stimulating the track.  OMG, the way this song grabs you!  The fusion of genres works so well – it just adds to the virtuosity of Ghostly Beard’s composition style.  Equally as appealing is the lyrics that define the bending and pulling of love, the way it has you reaching back into the past to remember the good times and reaching forward to relive those times in the future, Ghostly Beard sings “do you remember the power in our hands/the fire in our veins/as we grew older, how much of that remained/how much has passed away/we fell and rose again/it’s now or never, back where I used to be/this time you have to set me free.”  The hook, the background vocals, and bottom are so elating that it does set you free.  In addition, the Fender Rhodes just keep grooving on this freeing track.  This song is splendidly orchestrated and vocally executed.  And like George Benson, Ghostly Beard allowed the guitar to take a semi-lead on this track and talk to the audience on a fantastic guitar solo.  What a ride! 

The fourth track is entitled “A Reason to Leave.”  Having elements of Pop Rock, this track has a kind of homage to 1980’s Euro Pop mixed with pure Jazz.  I can listen to the attitude on Ghostly Beard’s vocal all day.  The double echo effect placed on the rhythm and lead guitars make for more texture and it perfectly ebbs and flows with the bass, sonic synthesizer, and crystal-like hi-hats.  With words like “just give me a reason to leave” we clearly see the power of love – such power, often it is like a fever that we do not want to subside.  We fall hard, become addicted to it, and we beg for a reason to leave it alone, but what happens?  We go back there once again.  Ghostly Beard sings “it wasn’t long before I stumbled/now I’m falling down/I love to love you, I love you much/it’s such a fever/this feeling in my heart is more than I can bear/now give me a reason to leave, babe.”  Furthermore, Ghostly Beard cleverly manipulates the phrasing and tempo of this tract by scatting effortlessly and wistfully plucking at his guitar.  This is the fever pitch song of the collection.    

One of the most sentimental tunes on this album is entitled “Blue” a heartwarming song dedicated to Ghostly Beard’s beautiful daughter Sarah.  When you listen to this song, you can hear authentic chivalry.  Actually it was great to hear a song written on such a fragile subject, as currently in our society the bond between families is seen as trivial and people act as if they prefer to see family bitterness and unruly behavior especially on Reality TV.  So, I love the fact that there is still true familial love out there.  With lyrical poetry that state “dancing her way through life and none of it really matters/you would see her laughing all the way/me, I see her in/Blue/I’m wrapped around her little finger” this is such a lovely song that touches your core differently than most songs touching on this topic as you can feel the genuine respect and fatherly affection this dad has for his little girl through his writing.  And, what a great example of musical symbolism calling this song “Blue,” as the color blue represents truth, wisdom, confidence, and stability – all factors a little girl sees in her father.  I saw this video and it brought so many memories of me with my dad.  Watch it here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAr6r0spZOU.   Really glad this type of love NEVER dies.  I am in my 40’s and I still see my father as “daddy” and I am still his “little girl.”  There is nothing stronger than the loving bond between a father and a daughter - it is an unbreakable one.  From the cradle onward, the image of her daddy is what will carry his little girl throughout her life – her super hero, her buddy, her daddy. 

The seventh tune is called “The Odds of Our Lives” and is such a beautifully composed ballad that displays the probabilities of love within a relationship and the oddity that often grows between the couple tied into that bond.  It starts out mellow and then picks up the pace.  As with the majority of Bossa Nova songs, the Samba is its core rhythm, but this track features a Bossa Nova that has been kissed by Rhythm and Blues and it meshes well together.  Seasoned with classic Jazz instrumentation, Ghostly Beard added frenetic violins to hug the thumping bass guitar which reminds me of what made so many Motown songs HITS – it was that odd combo of abstracting instruments.  But only true music masterminds can attempt this and succeed and Ghostly Beard definitely succeeds on this cut.  Equally adding to this beautiful musical mix are reverberated adlibs.  At the outro, we are blessed with a projected guitar solo that just swoons.  One of the shortest songs in the collection packs a nice subtle punch.  Who can pass up a song that flows like quiet adrenaline?     

“I Dream of You” is the easy, lay back and groove with me song of the album.  This subtle cut lyrically describes a common side effect of love – desire and longing.  Ghostly Beard starts this song with a chilled-out guitar solo and then bleeds into a lyrical mellowed down groove with inviting chimes leading the way.  He sings “I can’t be sure I’m living without the fire in your eyes/you won’t die twice I promise, forever in my heart you are.”  How many women would LOVE to have these words spoken to them?  And the smoky whisper of Ghostly Beard’s vocals show such passion.  Plus, it was so nice to hear a song classically written following the traditional song structure – very narrative-friendly.  And this song speaks truthfully as it often seems that desire and longing is only fully caught and held onto in dreams.  The airy effect of this song is so spell bounding – you can hear this light vibe on the closing notes of the line “And no one else can reach you now” which gives a weightless energy to this cut like a dream. 

Two words that come to mind when you listen to “Along the Road” is Big Band!  The percussion filled introduction just invites you mentally into an exclusive Jazz club where you see the band playing on the stage grooving to the beat and then your eyes single out the front man maturely bellowing out notes that float as he sweetly kisses on the subject of moving on until you find that place where love is waiting.  The way this song was mixed keeps you moving – emotionally traveling.  And I love the Modern Jazz vocal execution on this track when Ghostly Beard croons “just can’t make it, just can’t take it, just can’t carry on.”  That light second tenor voice of Ghostly Beard richly adds to the bright light big stage aura of the track.  This is lively and lit! 

The final song in the review is entitled “Fool” and it is sure going to put a smile on the face of the listener, but there is so much MORE to the shortest song on the album like the smooth musical introduction, Ghostly Beard’s trademark precision on playing the guitar, the fluttering way the bass drum and bass guitar play along nicely, and the way this song was wonderfully written that it makes you think.  Lyrically, this Soft Rock Jazz song touches on a subject that often goes under the radar – self-love.  Ghostly Beard sings “I’ve blown out of proportion/like a cinnamon bun/my clothes are out of fashion/and my zip is undone/you’re a fool, you’re singing the blues/you’re a fool, your singing the blues.”  Finding love in someone else is often easier than loving oneself; sad but true, but learning to laugh at your own insecurities and imperfections is a skill few people acquire and a skill that takes courage, strength, and weirdly confidence.  The music breakdown at the 1 minute 24 second mark just takes this quirky song over the top and that is followed by a guitar solo where Ghostly Beard once again shows his brilliance on the guitar.  The song closes with Ghostly Beard singing “we’re all fools, we’re singing the blues/we’re all fools, we’re singing the blues” showing how everyone has some insecurities and imperfections.  So in retrospect, this song is also showing how we ALL have no reason to point the finger at anyone as we all have imperfections, idiosyncrasies, and weirdness.  Makes you think doesn’t it?  

This album shows the depth of Ghostly Beard’s talent as it is an absolute shift in his repertoire.  Musically shifting from Rock into Jazz laced with some Rhythm and Blues and Soul is daring, but if it is done well, it is a great marketing achievement for an artist as it broadens the listening audience and will give additional hits to its musical creator. 

Well, there is no doubt that Ghostly Beard has achieved this musical transition perfectly.  And what is so spectacular is that he did not get lost in the shift – yes, the music and rhythms have shifted, but that mellow, suave, vocal that we have grown to love remains.  Ghostly Beard has an unmistakable 2nd tenor that is very distinctive – a vocal that is able to flow through Pop Rock into Soul on into Jazz.  In addition, Ghostly Beard stayed true to his drawing card of writing lyrics that touch on topics that never grow old to the human heart outlined by splendid instrumentation, well laid vocals, and infectious hooks. 

I see Ghostly Beard’s musical journey shaping similar to Peter Cetera’s (formally a member of the American Rock band "Chicago") as Cetera also was successfully able to transition between Rock and Jazz Fusion and has garnered hit after hit on the Billboard charts. 

An added nod goes out to Andrew Gosden at Coldroom Studio, Brisbane, Australia and Adrian Jenkinson at Hairy Monster Studio, Hull, UK for their help on the album’s production which is A+. 

If you adored the first EP’s “Infinite” musical pleasure, then you will LOVE the emotional provoking collection called “Invisible.”  This album will touch the physical and the mental aspects of your life.  

This is an album that you have to purchase in order to get the full experience on your senses, and trust me, you will not be disappointed.  So please go to https://www.ghostlybeard.com/music to download your copy today.  

Experience an album that will touch the invisible portion of your life – your soul!

As an added bonus, check out Ghostly Beard’s interview with Starlight Music Chronicles Spotlight regarding “Invisible” http://starlightmusicchroniclesspotlight.com/smc-october-featured-artist-ghostly-beard-blue-music-video-world-premiere. 

*Album cover photography courtesy of August Muench

 

Comments

Thank YOU Ghost for the music. What a musical journey this has been thus far with "Infinite" and now "Invisible." I cannot wait to see what else you give to us (the listening audience/fans) from your musical treasure chest. Always, KiKi
Thanks so much for this wonderful review KiKi! I'm truly humbled and touched by your kind words. Your understanding of music comes from within and it's a joy to read your prose which is always so lyrical and expressive. It made ME want to listen to the album! :D I cannot express how grateful I am for this, it really touched me, thanks!

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