A Trio, formed between Riley Bray (Vocals, Guitar) and Justin Goings (Drums), The Golden Ghosts found their sound on the road, playing many of their first shows on the unofficial side of the 2011 SXSW music conference, followed by several regional tours in and around California. They have since toured nationally supporting Uli John Roth (Scorpions) and Leslie West (Mountain). They returned to SXSW again in 2012, playing showcases hosted by Gibson and Ampeg. They are also featured currently in a national Buick advert alongside Peter Frampton. Recently selected for the Filter Magazine Culture Collide festival, The Golden Ghosts are continuing their quest to become a well established touring act on the festival circuit. Their set is a high-energy Rock and Roll dance party, moving freely from twangy southern soul and spacious desert rock, to towering wall of sound crescendos, all with a relentless and pulsating drive. With the release of their debut LP Gleam, a collection of songs of life on the road and vignettes of the strange and fascinating characters who dot our American landscape, The Golden Ghosts bring a classic sensibility and fresh vitality to Rock and Roll music.
Riley Bray - Vocals, Guitar
Spencer Schuck - Bass Guitar
Justin Goings - Drums
Bandits EP 2011
Gleam LP 2012
Ears Wide Open; The Golden Ghosts
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Riley Bray is a tall man— 6-foot-7, according to the press release — which, ostensibly, should help ...Riley Bray is a tall man— 6-foot-7, according to the press release — which, ostensibly, should help the singer-songwriter’s reach. As frontman of the Golden Ghosts, all things roots-rock are within Bray’s grasp. “Gleam,” the band’s just-released debut album, doesn’t deviate too much from the classic rock diagram, but whether meting out earnest anthems, brawny barroom rock or pedal steel-laden laments, the Golden Ghosts’ crisp guitar work has a lot to offer fans whose tastes run to the old school. Bray’s responsible for that, having recorded all the guitars in “Gleam” sessions with drummer Justin Goings. Wear your boots — the galloping “Heart of Coal” is for stomping.
Artist to Watch: The Golden Ghosts
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The Golden Ghosts’ recently released debut album “Gleam” is rock n roll at its finest. The brainchil...The Golden Ghosts’ recently released debut album “Gleam” is rock n roll at its finest. The brainchild of engineer, producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and frontman Riley Bray, this is a band to watch.
Plus check out their performance live on The Weekly Comet, May 23, at 7pmPT at empowerme.tv.
The Golden Ghosts is Riley Bray’s his first time fronting a group playing guitar and singing his own songs.
“I’ve had the sound of the Golden Ghosts in my head for a while,” Bray says. “I heard it as having a sense of space, like Ennio Morricone’s soundtracks, but with the energy of 60s garage rock and the beauty and expansiveness of contemporary textural music. To realize that, I knew I had to stop being a sideman, which I was in my previous band, and move ahead on my own.”
Haunting Melodies on the Dead Horse Trail
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The Golden Ghosts are a great band from the Los Angeles area, and I’m happy to have them join us on ...The Golden Ghosts are a great band from the Los Angeles area, and I’m happy to have them join us on our site. With a modern classic sound, if that makes sense, the band has created one of the more unique rock records I’ve heard in a while. The album is titled Gleam and it is an infectious album with great song structure, great stories, and a rock and roll attitude. Elements of other genres certainly creep in, but those elements never invade the premise of this being a rock record. In true rock fashion, the Golden Ghosts deliver a great performance and deserve to be heard.
Click here to listen to the entire Riley Bray from The Golden Ghosts interview,
Joining the family today is Riley Bray. Riley is the guitarist and vocalist for The Golden Ghosts. First off, thanks for joining me today and welcome to the Rock. Nothing But…family.For most, this is an introduction to your band. Let’s take a moment and get to know The Golden Ghosts. In your own words, how would you describe your sound?
It’s Rock and Roll music. Emphasis on and roll. It’s not a sub-genre, or this, that or the other thing. It’s just American Rock and Roll music.
The Golden Ghosts is an interesting name. Where does it come from?
You know, I just woke up one morning and it was in my head and that was it. It just popped into my head and then I woke up and realized, that this is the name. There’s a lot of other meanings behind it, some of which I just don’t want to divulge (laughter). It just relates to the spirit of Rock and Roll. It’s like those golden ghosts that have maybe been dormant for a little while, but never really goes away. It also kind of relates to your spirit. Your golden ghost. That’s kind of what it means to me.
After seeing a few of your performances on youtube, I thought maybe it had something to do with the way you across the dancefloor or stage there.
(laughter) I do definitely like to move around on the stage. I grew up watching James Brown, and Mick Jagger, and Chuck Berry, and just all the greats. You know just watching, and the way they move. The way they kind of internalize the music they’re making. How it’s just kind of coming out of their whole body. It’s very much a part of the performance for me. I can’t really play without dancing, it just doesn’t work. (laughter)
It’s awesome, I like it! Well, Gleam is the name of your new album. I would say it’s a throwback record. I feel it is full of infectious, well written songs that seem really tell their stories well and draw you in. As a songwriter, that is a very important trait. Where do you pull your inspiration from when writing?
Just from my life in general. Life on the road is a big part. I try to travel as much as I can, and tour as much as I can, because I just feel that is where all my songs are. I can’t write in a bubble. I need to get out into the world and go crash on people’s floors, and meet people, and feel the struggle of what it is to be a band in the modern world. To try to pull yourself up, one gig at a time. That’s where all the writing comes from. Just being out there and everything that just comes along with the lifestyle it takes to take a rock and roll band from sitting in a garage, to filling up rooms. That’s where the songs are for me, and it’s a whole self reflective thing then. The music just kind of starts creating itself. It’s just telling the story of creating the music almost. I really appreciate that you mentioned the story telling aspect. Because that has always been a big thing for me with songwriting. I think a really good song should tell a story. It shouldn’t just be kind of a sentiment or a hook. It needs an opening, and a middle, and a resolution one way or the other. I appreciate you saying that. Thank you.
Absolutely. Johnny Cash made his living telling stories, so I’m all about it.
No doubt! He’s definitely a hero of mine.
Awesome! Well, like I said, you mentioned touring. The band just returned home from a tour. What does the rest of 2012 tour schedule look like? Any big plans for the summer?
We’re getting back in the studio right now. We did that tour earlier this year with Uli Jon Roth from the Scorpions. We went to New York and back with him. That was a great tour. Then we did SXSW (South By SouthWest). Then we did this California tour to celebrate the release of this record. We’re already pretty deep into the process of putting together, and arranging our next record. I’ve written a bunch of new songs, and I’ve been working with the guys. Writing with them too. So, we’re just gonna hunker down for a couple of months, and record another record. Then we’ll do some local L.A. gigs, and then we’re looking to be touring again Nationally in the Fall.
Let’s talk about a couple songs. Dead Horse Trail is one of the more haunting songs on the album. The lyrics are as compelling as the melody is haunting. What’s the story behind that song?
Dead Horse Trail is actually a bit of a historical piece. That’s a real thing. It was goldrush trail up through Alaska and it really did not work out very well for too many people. I got this old magazine from the 60's, it was an Old West stories kind of magazine. I was reading a story about the dead horse trail, and there were just so many images in it, that just struck me so much. When they were talking about the bones that had piled up on the trail, and that the horses would just walk over the carcasses, and these people were so driven to just find this gold, that they just kept pushing. It was just such a compelling story to me, about the human drive to get out there and find these things. Even in the face of total peril. It seemed this funny analogy to touring for me. (laughter) Where it’s like, we’re all out there looking for the gold. It’s not quite so bad that we are freezing to death on the trails of Alaska, but it just kind of felt like a good analogy of where I was at, at that time. So, I read this story about the dead horse trail, and it just kind of happened real quick after that.
I can definitely see the comparisons you are drawing there, so it’s all good.
(laughter) Sometimes it feels like that! You know, you’ve finished a long day. You’ve driven 6 hours, played a gig, loaded up your stuff and then realize, you have nowhere to stay. It’s just like, “What am I going to do here?” But, it always works out. That’s where the adventure is. I meet so many people out on the road, I’m so amazed by the kindness of the people of my generation. Older, and younger, they’ve put us up for the night. It’s really an amazing experience being out on the road. We generally try not to book hotels and all of that stuff, we just kind of go for it and it always works out.
Yeah. Those rivalries too, that can be a part of the community too. There’s a friendliness to it too. Where you are all pushing each other to be better. You are always going out to check out each other’s band. You’re like, well what are they doing, or what pedal are they using? I like the way you wrote that song. There is a little bit of competition, but to me it always feels friendly. We’re all in this together. We’re all on the same team. We’re all related in the fact, that we all just love music. We love playing, performing, and traveling. I have so many friends bands that will come to stay with me when they come through L.A., then I’ll go and stay with them when I’m in Oklahoma or whatever. It’s amazing, it’s a small community all over the country and the world really.
It really shrinks the size of the world sometimes, it really does. You guys do an amazing cover tune on this record. Willie The Weeper is a song written long ago and actually inspired Cab Calloway’s Minnie The Moocher. Your version reminds me of the stylings of Warren Zevon. Who are some of your personal influences as an artist?
Well, that’s a long list. It goes all the way back to the Delta Blues stuff. I love Mississippi John Hurt, like, a lot!! He’s one of my favorites. Then moving forward, I was really into Chuck Berry growing up. Then realizing how much he influenced The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, I started really getting into them. I’m heavily influenced by Neil Young and Johnny Cash. A lot of music that happened before I was born, honestly. (laughter) Then, I’m also very heavily influenced by Sonic Youth and Thurston Moore. Everything those guys do. I feel like I land in there funny place where I’m pulling on this old stuff. Where there’s some country elements, and there’s folk elements, some old blues elements, but I’m also into these kind of textural type guitars that I got from this whole late 80's, early 90's thing that happened. I think Sonic Youth, was kind of the head of that scene. They’re just a big inspiration to me. Then, into modern day, I really like Kurt Vile. I think he’s just really making some fantastic music. I really like the Gravellers. I think they kind of pull on this classic sound, but they totally make it their own, and it’s really unique. So, I have a really wide range of influences. I also, really, really love Elvis and Frank Sinatra. They’re just two of my favorites, and always have been since I was a kid. That’s kind of a bit of a spectrum. Then though, Iggy Pop. He is the frontmen of all frontmen. A lot of what he has done, I wouldn’t say I’ve modeled singing after, but I’d say I’ve learned from. He’s been a big inspiration. I kind of in the center. Rock and roll music to me, just has a wide spectrum. A lot of times, people will say, I should have a more specific sound, or you should do just this one thing, but to me, rock and roll is this middle ground between the blues, and folk, and country. It’s full of youthful aggression, you mix it all together and you get this awesome artform.
Your face may be familiar to some. You’ve been featured in a Buick commercial recently with a special guest, Peter Frampton (included below). Tell us a bit about that whole experience and how it came about.
That’s true! That was a lot of fun. It was pretty wild actually. We were finishing up at rehearsal and we were poking around on Craigslist. We saw an ad that said, “Real rock and roll band wanted for national car commercial.” We were like, “Huh, that looks kind of funny. Why don’t we go check that out?” The audition was just a few blocks away from the studio. So, we just hopped over there and did the audition. It was really fun, then the next day, we got a call to come back and do another audition. We had them laughing. For us, we were just kind of going in there to just to see what was up. It was just something kind of fun to do. Then, they called us up the next day and they were like, “You guys are in this commercial and it’s with Peter Frampton.” (laughter) We were like, “You’re kidding! Come on?” (laughter) Yeah, it all just happened. Peter is the nicest guy. He is so cool. We got to jam with him a little bit. Just watching this guy play, you could see the years of experience in his hands. It was just amazing. You know, he was giving us some cool career advice about sticking to your guns, and being true to what you play and what you do. I mean the whole experience was just such a blast. It was so cool. Then, it allowed us to get ourselves a tour van. Which is great! (laughter) Cause up until that point, we had been touring in a mini-van. A Dodge Grand Caravan, that we drove into the ground. The head block finally cracked, and we were without a tour van, and we had a National tour booked. Then, we got that commercial, made some money, got ourselves a van and just kept on going. The whole thing was just, almost surreal. Just how smoothly it all fell into place and happened. It was a lot fun.
The one thing I noticed about that commercial, and some of your performances on youtube, is you are very tall. That has to be an inconvenience on the road at times. (laughter) How tall are you and do you have any strange stories from the road you could share?
Oh, I have lots of strange stories from the road that I can share. Let me think about one for my height though. On the road, I will always sleep on the floor. Because, couches are just like a weird torture device for me to try and sleep on. It just doesn’t work. (laughter) They just don’t make them long enough for me. I’ll just tour with a little yoga mat and I’ve learned to crash on the floor pretty well. That’s just the only way to deal with that.
One, actually kind of funny tour story that I can think of, that’s related to my height; We were opening for Leslie West from Mountain in Sayreville, PA. Leslie recently lost his leg, so he’s in a wheelchair. I have so much respect for him. He is such a badass for doing that. He just got back out there on the tour and said, “I don’t care.” He was making jokes about it, saying how he doesn’t have a leg to stand on and all this stuff. He’s just such an awesome guy. Anyways, so they built this ramp up to the stage for him. So, we are opening and we are about to go on, and I go to go, and it’s like a low overhang due to the ramp. They had left a nail sticking out of the top of the overhand, and it caught me right in the top of my head, and just sliced my head open. It was bad, really bad. There was a noise curfew on the venue, and we just had to go on. So, I grabbed a towel and some ice and walked up on stage. Blood just gushing down my face. (laughter) I just told everyone, “Hey, I just cut my head open really bad, so we are going to play. If I pass out, someone go ahead and call me an ambulance.” So, we played the show. I was also the front of house engineer for that tour, so we played our set and then I mixed their set. By then, I was feeling a little woozy, so I asked the lady who was the head of the venue, “Can you drive me to the hospital?” (laughter) She took me to the hospital and I got six staples in my head.
Wow. Now that Sir, is rock and roll. Alright, I always end on a random question. Who’s cooler; Snoopy or Scooby and why?
I think Scooby. (laughter) Because, you know, he’s got that whole gang of radical 70's kids and that sweet van. Of course I’m going to go for the spooky ghost option. That works for me. Also, a lot of times a lot of people will call me Shaggy. Mainly because I have long hair and I drive around in a van. (laughter) So, I’m going to go with Scooby.
I want to thank you for joining me today. The site and myself wish you and the band absolutely nothing but the best.
The Golden Ghosts members:
Starland Ballroom Sayreville NJ Feb 4, 2012
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For some cool meat-and-potatoes alt-rock, The Golden Ghosts from Los Angeles fit the bill nicely. Th...For some cool meat-and-potatoes alt-rock, The Golden Ghosts from Los Angeles fit the bill nicely. The lead singer had mentioned toward the end of their set that this was the last leg of their East Coast tour, and they were excited to be on the bill with Leslie West. Now here’s band that knows how to get your attention and turn a show right around! Sounding like a psychedelic version of the New York Dolls, these young guns (most of the band looked in their early 20’s) amped up the night with about a half-dozen tunes that, by the end of their set, had created a psychedelic bonfire as the guitars raged, the rhythm section seemingly pumped iron, the lead singer wailed (working the stage like a shaman,) and the addition of a keyboard/organ player crated a swirl of music that felt like no other. You’ve got to see The Golden Ghosts next time around!
Don't Miss Your Chance to See The Golden Ghosts
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The Golden Ghosts are a buzzing new Los Angeles-based duo consisting of Riley Bray on guitar and voc...The Golden Ghosts are a buzzing new Los Angeles-based duo consisting of Riley Bray on guitar and vocals and Justin Goings, who has strong Sacramento music scene ties having played in bands like Mister Metaphor and Jeepster. Their music is groovy and really quite infectious; and with them touring through the area soon you’ll have quite a few chances to check them out live. On April 25 they’re playing at Luigi’s Fungarden, April 26 they’ll be in Nevada City at Café Mekka, April 27 they are at Luke’s Lounge in Dixon and on April 28 they will be at Plainfield Station in Woodland. Also, you can catch them on May 20 alongside Agent Ribbons and Roman Funerals at Cesar Chavez Park in downtown Sacramento as part of the annual Friday Night Concerts in the Park series.
Twangy Southern-inspired brand of rock ’n’ roll
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Los Angeles-based Golden Ghosts charmed the crowd with their gracious attitude and twangy Southern-i...Los Angeles-based Golden Ghosts charmed the crowd with their gracious attitude and twangy Southern-inspired brand of rock ’n’ roll.
Drummer Justin Goings and guitarist Riley Bray were dressed like 1960s rock stars in leather vests and skinny jeans. Bray’s chin-length hair and tassel-adorned vest swayed in unison as he delivered lines like, “You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone,” head swiveling with sass.
Brave audience members danced in front of the stage as hoots issued from the crowd during heady jam “Heart of Coal.”
“We couldn’t have picked a better day and couldn’t have asked for a better crowd,” Bray said.
A Tribute to American Individuality
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Singer Riley Bray Finds his Vision Come To Life With Haunting, Powerful Release The Golden Ghosts h...Singer Riley Bray Finds his Vision Come To Life With Haunting, Powerful Release
The Golden Ghosts have delivered a debut album that reflects the spirit, resilience and timelessness of great American music. From the galloping, urgent opener “Heart of Coal” to the closing sonic spellbinder “Last Outpost”, Gleam captures the swirling dust of history and legend and turns it into sleekly textured cinematic music that ricochets between the cultural mythology of spaghetti westerns and the L.A. punk scene, and between the classic rock arrangements and signposts of Dylan, The Beatles, The Stones, The Doors, T. Rex, Love, Jimi Hendrix and Iggy Pop, and band leader Riley Bray’s own singular sense of direction and purpose. After years making his musical mark in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area as an engineer, producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Bray now approaches The Golden Ghosts as his first opportunity to front a group playing guitar and singing his own songs.
Bray offers, “I’ve had the sound of the Golden Ghosts in my head for a while,” he explains. “I heard it as having a sense of space, like Ennio Morricone’s soundtracks, but with the energy of ’60s garage rock and the beauty and expansiveness of contemporary textural music. To realize that, I knew I had to stop being a co-songwriter, which I was in my previous band, and move ahead on my own.” Bray recorded Gleam with his band mate and drummer Justin Goings, at his Rainspell studio in North Hollywood under near-lockdown conditions. He recalls, “Nobody outside the band heard the music before it was done. I didn’t want to hear any voice except the one in my head when it came to what these songs should be and what they’re about.” The two are now joined by keyboardist Flannery Lunsford and bassist Matthew Tucker who also both sing harmony.
The album’s main anchors are Bray’s exceptional voice — a rock-star perfect blend of dust, spit and wild honey — and guitar playing. Armed with his tasteful collection of vintage and modern guitars, and a sleek array of stomp boxes including a vintage tape delay that helps add to the spectral scope of the album’s aural landscape, Bray cut all the bristling guitar tracks himself except for the pedal steel contributions of Greg Shadwick. Upon completion of tracking, the band brought in Grammy winning engineering team Jim Watts and Ethan Allan for the mix. Gleam was mastered by Howie Weinberg.
The title song and “Heart of Coal” cut right to the soul of the Golden Ghosts. With its cascading chords and hoof beat rhythm, “Gleam” is a tribute to American individuality and endurance wrapped in a tale that straddles the old West and the Rust Belt. “Heart of Coal” displays his songwriting in peak form. On the surface the tune’s echoing guitar licks, brazenly unforgettable riff and percolating drums support the tale of a hard-hearted woman who nonetheless earns love. “It’s actually my look at living in America right now,” Bray relates. “The country is a complex and difficult place to be, but she’s a ‘woman with a heart of coal’ that I can’t help but adore.”
The mix of Americana, rock, folk and other sounds that fill Bray’s creative core are the result of growing up exposed to such diverse elements as classic rock and country music, western movies and the great singer-songwriters of the ’60s, from Neil Young to Lou Reed to Lennon/McCartney to Jagger/Richards.
As a front man, the lanky 6’7” Bray is a natural. His first experience as a leader was in Dangerfield Noobie, a group he formed in high school that was a staple at such historic Los Angeles nightspots as the Whiskey, the Roxy, the Key Club and the Troubadour. While living in Oakland he co-lead the psychedelic group Fauna Valetta, who released an eponymous album in 2008. On that disc Bray also played Farfisa organ, sitar and tabla, instruments he intends to weave into the Golden Ghosts realm. And in 2009 he made his debut solo EP Away From Me, the initial showcase for his self-realized songwriting and his fist step toward the Golden Ghosts. “Since finishing Gleam last year the band has been on the road constantly,” Bray says. “That’s the place where ideas and inspiration really come from. There’s an energy to being out there, to playing shows in different towns every night, that keeps you in a good place creatively — especially as a performer. Touring has helped me discover America, but it’s also helped me discover myself. That may sound heavy-handed, but it’s the truth. It’s helped me realize who I am and what I am here to do, and I think you can hear that in the Golden Ghosts and in the songs on Gleam.”
For More Information Visit:
The Golden Ghosts - Gleam
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The Golden Ghosts Gleam Usually when I get sent an album to review I get a nice little package, ...The Golden Ghosts
Usually when I get sent an album to review I get a nice little package, and there is plenty of info to be found via Google. I get to give you a little summary about the band to let you know more about them, where they’re from, favorite ice cream topping, etc. This time this is not the case however. I basically got an email more or less telling me “Here you go! I think you’ll like it!”
What little I did find out about The Golden Ghosts, and their new album is this. They are from Los Angeles, and their new album is called Gleam. It appears there are four members of this band: Riley Bray, Justin Goings, Flannery Lunsford, and Daniel Aquarian. And The Golden Ghosts are currently on tour, and just so happen to be playing my city this evening as well as another venue in California. I assume that only one of these things is happening however, and their other tour dates in California lead me to believe that they are actually in California touring. This is pretty much all I know about The Golden Ghosts, based on my skills using the internet, so they do remain a bit of a mystery.
Most importantly is that my email was right, I do like it. The Golden Ghostshave this indie rock, alt/country, garage thing going on. At times it reminds me of Band of Skulls, other times it reminds me of Kurt Vile (only less psychedelic), then they add some twang here, some classic rock there, and you’ve got yourself a pretty diverse release . Over its 11 tracks, Gleam shows that The Golden Ghosts are full of influences and that they’re certainly no one trick pony. The songs are well written and the album is solid from start to finish. They don’t whip out big solos on every song, but do bring them when the song calls for it. It really is a well-balanced release.
While many new bands put out a record that can sound repetitive after a while, especially on their debut, The Golden Ghosts do anything but on Gleam. I won’t say that I loved every song on here, but I didn’t dislike any of them either. Some of the songs are very good though, and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear them more elsewhere. In fact, I believe The Golden Ghosts are currently featured in a commercial already, so who knows what’s next? With more touring and SxSW on the horizon for the band this year, The Golden Ghosts certainly seemed poised to have a breakout year. Gleam is certainly the type of album that will help them do it.
The Golden Ghosts // Heart of Coal
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These guys played over the past weekend at the MachineWorks warehouse over on 17th and Capp and put ...These guys played over the past weekend at the MachineWorks warehouse over on 17th and Capp and put on a show nothing less than an energetic party starter. The two man band hails from LA and the boys keep it simple with just guitar, drums and vocals. Their sound can be attributed to a 70's rock revival mixed with your favorite elements of shoegaze and post punk. Their next SF show is at the knockout July 8th. They've just released an EP through the indie label, Rainspell. In the meantime here's a tease with their single, Heart of Coal. Free full quality downlaod bellow.
Live at the Townhouse
... The duo Golden Ghosts is pure rock ‘n’ roll consisting of just drums and guitar...
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The Golden Ghosts: Gleam — This snazzy debut album from The Golden Ghosts "reflects the spirit, resi...The Golden Ghosts: Gleam — This snazzy debut album from The Golden Ghosts "reflects the spirit, resilience and timelessness of great American music," as the promo materials proclaim. In fact, Gleam's colorful blur of garage and classic rock, folk music, spaghetti western and even punk could have been recorded anytime between 1975 and now.
Available upon request.
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