I do love me a good murder ballad sometimes. Cocaine Blues, popularized by Johnny Cash and later George Thorogood, is maybe my favorite. I’m pretty enamored now, though, with a cut off the new Reed Turner release, Ghosts In the Attic. The song, Killed That Girl (‘Cause She Was Killing Me) has just the right amount of irony to balance the basic infidelity root cause of the crime.
Overall the one theme that emerges from the album is practiced restraint. The opening number, Modern Man, keeps threatening to be an all out rocker, but instead just keeps a simmer that instead highlights Turner’s lyrics. The Fire could easily be an anthemic cliche in others hands, but here stays close to its folk roots, not unlike Dylan’s acoustic Like A Rolling Stone.
One bonus on the record is the harmony and fiddle of Phoebe Hunt, formerly of the Belleville Outfit. Her light but powerful vocals balance Turner’s darker and drawn out phrasing to add some punch to several songs. She appears on many of the tracks, but my favorites are the title track and Long Gone, a swampy, funky folk song that was also co-written by Hunt.
The album finishes with The Sculptor & the Stone, a reflection on the artist and his material as it translates to breaking up a relationship. It has a nice raw, garage-band guitar sound that makes for a great ending to the antici….pation that builds up throughout the rest of the album.
About the author: Support new music. Listen to a band or singer you've never heard of this week. I've been doing that for over 30 years.