Midnight Ghost Train, The - Cypress Ave.,
On August 1st, 2007, John Goff was pronounced dead, having died in his home in Abilene, Kansas from a severe asthma attack. His best friend, Steve Moss, felt that John’s memory and life had to be remembered, so he moved back to Buffalo, New York to form a band and start touring. The trio are now back with their fourth studio album, and the second with the same line-up, with Mike Boyne managing to stick around longer than most of their other bassists (the line-up is completed by Brandon Burghart who initially joined as bassist, but switched to drums, although he ended up playing both on their self-titled debut album).
At the heart of their music is the blues, combined with a swagger and rock honesty that makes this music shine. The vocals are raw and heartfelt, and time and again I found myself being reminded of Tom Waits although this is nothing like his material, and still can’t think why. Perhaps it is the approach? The storytelling? It doesn’t matter, what does matter is that this is a band that lives and dies on the road, and that shines through in their music. They can be up-tempo, or slow it down and create something soft and gentle, channelling alt-country, Johnny Cash, Southern rock, sludge and funk into something that is down and dirty, roll in the mud sort of music. That they can break into a song like “Break My Love”, which could have been recorded in the Thirties or Forties, shows just confident they are in their own abilities and rightly so.
A mature album from a mature band – I love it.