GHOST TOWN BLUES BAND
HARD ROAD TO HOE
HARD ROAD TO HOE–BIG SHIRLEY–TIP OF MY HAT–MY DOGGY–MR. HANDY MAN–HATE TO SEE HER GO–TIED MY WORRIES TO A STONE–DEAD SEA–NOTHIN BUT TIME–DIME IN THE WELL–SEVENTEEN–ROAD STILL DRIVES THE SAME
The Ghost Town Blues Band are known for their second-line entrances into their gigs, especially the one that led to their second-place finish in last year’s IBC’s. Their live shows are the stuff of legend, and they ably transfer that energy onto their latest release, “Hard Road To Hoe.” Matt Isbell is on guitar, Preston McEwen is on drums, Jeremy Powell is on keys, and Alex Piazza is on bass. Everyone shares vocal duties, and they utilize a horn section that gives this set a strong Memphis vibe.
The leadoff title cut is powerful and compelling, beginning with Preston on push broom and Matt on shovel, actually digging a hole, as they spin a tale of overcoming all of life’s obstacles. Matt is also featured on a guitar made from his grandmother’s silverware chest. Home cookin”as a metaphor for good lovin’ is the second-line theme of “Tip Of My Hat,” with fellow Memphian Brandon Santini on harp. Brandon sticks around for another tune, a humorous look at man’s best friend, “My Doggy,” who “don’t talk back!”
They pay tribute to W. C. Handy with an all-horn instrumental, “Mr. Handy Man,” then show how far the blues has come with the rockin’ “Hate To See You Go.” “Tied My Worries To A Stone” is a shot of blues-rock that compares the mighty Mississippi River to a pillar of strength you can call on during tough times. “Dime In The Well” is a driving, Hill-Country stomper with Matt on cigar-box guitar. “Seventeen” has a vintage soul feel, and the set closes with Matt’s slide carrying the load on “The Road Still Drives The Same Without You,” a somber tale of lost love, featuring downright sanctified organ from Jeremy Powell.
Our favorite was an all-out rocker, the story of “Big Shirley,” who “needs a wreckin’ ball to keep her satisfied!”
The Ghost Town Blues Band bring a unique and fresh approach to their music, and they are a band who sho’ nuff love what they do. “Hard Road To Hoe” is a fine set from a band to be reckoned with! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.