Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Ghosts of Johnson City - The Devil's Gold

Make some room in your life for The Devil's Gold.  This isn't the kind of gold that will pay for the new Bentley, the kitchen remodel, or even the bottle of Jim Beam you covet to make it less painful when you realize that you won't have the Bentley or the remodeled kitchen.  So just what is The Devil's Gold?  It is the second album from The Ghosts of Johnson City.  The band is based in Portland, Maine, but spiritually live in Appalachia and the deep South of long past decades.

The Ghosts of Johnson City are songwriter Amos Libby (vocals/guitar/banjo), Douglas Porter (banjo/guitar/vocals), Erik Neilson (baritone Ukulele/vocals), Erik Winter (pump organ), Ian Riley (upright bass), Sarah Mueller (violin), and Bethany Winter (vocals).  Am I Born To Die?, their first album, consisted of fresh interpretations of dark Americana songs from the past.  For The Devil's Gold the band composed new songs in a similar style.  And it is a credit to their talent that to my ears the new songs are better than those on the debut album.  We still hear about murder, mine disasters, terminal illness, drowning, suicide, love and loss, but it all sounds so damn good that you enjoy the stories and congratulate yourself that none of them bear your name.  The quality is so uniform that I struggled mightily to choose some representative tracks for this feature, only consoling myself that I couldn't fail to represent the record well with any selection.  Four gems are below, but you can stream them all at the Soundcloud link.  You can find purchase details at the band's website.

This is unlike most any other album you will hear, and your life will have a void if you take a pass.  And besides, the kitchen is fine and the Bentley is a pain in the ass to maintain.  Get the album, put on your headphones, stay home and order a pizza.  Oh, and you can still drink the Jim Beam -- in fact you probably should.


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