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Ghostwriter | Wreck the City / simplify your life

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United States - Oregon

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Blues: Folk-Blues Country: Americana Moods: Type: Lo-Fi
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Wreck the City / simplify your life

by Ghostwriter

A ranting American opus from the original punk-folk troubadour. Primal minimalism and pathological imagery weave a soundtrack for the disaffected.
Genre: Blues: Folk-Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Mobile Line
2:55 $0.99
2. Hills
3:24 $0.99
3. Captain
4:15 $0.99
4. Idle Hands
3:02 $0.99
5. Pills
4:49 $0.99
6. Clean Slate
3:12 $0.99
7. These Old Songs
2:33 $0.99
8. Blue Eyed Girl (Fiddle Version)
3:58 $0.99
9. Breaking Point
3:06 $0.99
10. There Oughta Be a Law Against Sunny Southern California
4:38 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
With scroungy one-man-band blues-punk pilfering, Ghostwriter comes round the bend like a hillbilly Tom Waits stompin’ and hollering “Blue Eyed Girl” with phlegmy finesse. Sure, his ragged, bottom-hollow voice doesn’t paint any daisies, but his overall grit and panache ensure that you’ll listen hard, not lounge, and maybe knock some spoons on your skinny kneecap. “Everyone’s got a breaking point” one gal narrator says, inhabiting the song like a bruised and battered bird of paradise lost. She might have learned a few important things from ex-cons and junkies, but likely her own stamina and survival has taught her far more. “Clean Slate” runs down thru guilt trip lane, you know, the bad feeling one gets after leaving someone stranded and abandoned by the side of the road. In fact, loss and longing gets knee deep fast on this album. On the tune “Captain,” the whole world, and not some lone person, “has left me behind.” The tale of Jesus and the proverb about trying to squeeze blood from a stone is not likely to stir any faith either; instead, the narrator seeks a deal with the devil so he can retire to the open sea and shove his belongings in the nook of a sea wreck. In all, this is Fat Possum Records territory: it’s rife with black tar zeal and homemade booze bottomed-nights while cutting one’s lips on front porch twang. Though the muddy Mississippi doesn’t grope the towns of Oregon, this Northwest transplant has figured out a way to grab a fistful of the muck and make it roar, in skake bite moans, across this shotgun shack floor. For one man, there’s an awful lot of roil and ruckus in these bony refrains.

-Left Of The Dial, Jan. 2009

For anyone suffering from trying to digest the multiple overdubs and fifteen years of fiddling about presented on the recently surfaced GUNS N' ROSES album, the perfect antidote may just be waiting in the stripped down simplicity of one-man outfit and "folk-punk troubadour" GHOSTWRITER. Alternatively billed as "a one-man existential blues machine", a label I think is more accurate, Steve Schecter with his home made percussion device and hollow-body guitar, harmonica and banjo produces songs that sound instantly more focused than any over-produced "opus" will likely sound whilst his voice, reminiscent at times to a young ALICE COOPER ("Captain" reminding me somewhat of "Is It My Body?"), delivers cleverly observed lyrics that turn out surprisingly often to be deceptively upbeat.

The songs themselves are unassuming but effective. Few will appear in your "best ever" lists but collectively they make the album a fine set of modern day stories set to traditional music. The superb rail-road blues of "Mobile Line" recalls simpler days whilst the message is from the modern era. The harmonica that ultimately drenches it though is age old, as is the drone of the guitar that marks the excellent "Clean Slate". "These Old Songs" may at first contradict the rough hewn feel of most of the material but again it's a clever lyric proving, and this trick is repeated on "Breaking Point" and "Hills" too, more optimistic than a cursory listen may suggest.

Ultimately, this is a good disc to offer up as proof that you don't need excessive, multi-layered studio trickery to deliver a perfectly listenable album and a perfectly fine listen this is. The only fiddling about being the welcome addition of a guest fiddle player on the beautifully languid "Blue Eyed Girl".

-Bill Leslie. Peacedogman, Jan. 2009

Steve Schecter, henceforth known as Ghostwriter, takes the attitude of punk, the beer-soaked grime of classic honky-tonk country, and the isolation of the Oregon woods and constructs an intriguing collection of heartfelt Americana. Wreck The City/Simplify Your Life is a record with banjo, slide guitar, and fiddles with an intimacy that sounds as if Schecter is sitting in the room with you. There are a number of wonderfully self-deprecating tracks here, with “Idle Hands” and “Breaking Point” as two of the best. The former is a rambling tale of frustrations of life told with a blunt honesty and a slight smirk. (“Well, I was coming home from a gig and I hit a damn deer/wished to god he hadn’t been right there/Throw a new bumper on my truck and wonderin’ about my luck”). “Blue Eyed Girl” is a warm yet gut-wrenching track of heartache that is greatly enhanced by the playing of Ralph White, while “These Old Songs” emits a sentiment of frustration that is almost palpable, with this confession: “I could hang on to my dream instead of knowin’ it ain’t worth a thing/ What’s this whole thing really worth I’m barely kickin’ up dirt”. Regardless of how despondent Ghostwriter may be, he is a skilled songwriter akin to the work of Steve Wynn. This speaks to the heart of listener and comes across as fully candid and sincere. This is a record worth seeking; it may not cheer you up, but it will certainly leave you impressed.

- Rich Quinlan. JERSEY BEAT, Dec. 2008



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