Ginger Wildheart - 'Ghost In The Tanglewood' Album Review
The Daylight Hotel
Paying It Forward
The Words Are Gonna To Have To Wait
My Old Friend The Blues
Don't Say Goodbye
Ginger Wildheart has always had a love of Country music. If early Wildhearts B-side "Bad Time To Be Having A Bad Time" hinted at his broad musical palate then his 'Howling Willie Cunt' album stood screaming it's heritage straight into your face.
He's hinted at this album for some time now. Last year some video footage surfaced of him recording some acoustic songs. I got excited.
A few days before the end of February Ginger tweeted that the album would be called 'Ghost In The Tanglewood' would be released through PledgeMusic (his chosen platform from the past few years) and would be available for immediate download after.
It's not a Country album per se according to Ginger. "This is Country music, played by a working class Geordie raised on Country and Northern Folk music. This stuff has always been in my blood since I was a wee nipper and it’s an honour to finally get to play it for you."
It's also incredibly personal. In the accompanying video he talks about it being influenced by his past battles with mental health (he is VERY open about his experience, to a point that sometimes it can be painful to read what he's going through, and this is from someone who's no stranger to my own fight) so I approached listening to it with a certain sense of caution.
The album opens with "The Daylight Hotel" a song that could sit on any of his solo albums, it's chorus is infused with slide guitar and fiddle (no violins here). Ginger is working with a new crew of musicians here and it helps brings a freshness to his songs here. His voice sounds like it needs to sing these songs.
"Paying It Forward" sounds full on Country, all twangy guitars and pedal steel. It tells of people who reach out to help others and how we should adopt this manta. "It only takes one person to teach one person to reach one person to help them along" he sings over the chorus.
Ginger unleashes a full on Northern brogue on "Golden Days", the music borrowing a thing or two from the world of folk.
"Phantom Memories" is a highlight for me. Brushed drums and subtle musical backing helps the song breathe, giving Ginger an effective canvas to paint his reflective lyrics on.
He sings of his life as a musician and how much it makes him miss his family on "Minus You". He admits that it's taken him away from them when perhaps he should have been there. You get a sense of longing for more time with them, those things he can't get back.
The second half of the album starts with "Remains", a song where he tells us that people shouldn't be influenced by the memories as much as they are. "The Words Are Gonna To Have To Wait" comes along advising that sometimes actions need to come before explanations.
Ginger has often talked of his love of the Steve Earle song "My Old Friend The Blues". I've seen him play it a few times. Hell, he even has it tattooed on him. It's a song I've loved too and have been moved to tears seeing is writer perform it so I can say I was probably looking forward to this song most of all. Unfortunately, I kind of feel a bit disappointed in it. There's no doubt that it's coming from the heart with Ginger but, to me, the musical backing feels a bit too twee and cheesy. It seems to drag rather than speak directly to that dark part of your heart.
The pace picks back up with "The Reaper", reminding us that death is something that will happen to us all and that we a certain degree of control over it. It's short, just a couple of verses and choruses, and kind of leaves me wanting more of it.
The album closes with another song dedicated towards lost moments with his family. "Don't Say Goodbye" tugs at your heartstrings. He realises that leaving is the hardest part and it seems fitting that the album finishes with this.
So, Ginger puts in a good album but, to me, not a great one. The songs come from his heart. The vocals are, at times, so delicate you can feel them just about to shatter as you listen. The whole thing seems to stumble over some of the music, occasionally sounding more pastiche. If he tours the album is still be there as the idea of Ginger performing these with just an acoustic guitar is really appealing.
Learn more about Ginger's pledge campaign here: -
Website - http://g-a-s-s.co/main/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/officialginger/
Review - Scott Hamilton