The Baltimore House 43 King William Street

This event was a long time in the making and I couldn’t wait to complete the journey with Ghosts of Memphis. The journey, that is, of making their debut album, The Devil and the Details. If you’ve been following, I was with Trevor Howard the very first day he started demoing at Boxcar Sound with Matt Montour. My first visit to a recording studio turned into a series of posts over the course of their studio time.

It was exciting to see Trevor and Gerry Finn at the album’s release party and celebrate. They were really excited to share the music with everyone and there was so much love and support in the room. I grabbed a copy of the new album a few months ago and featured it as one of my top music picks of 2012. Be sure to check it out!

Kirby
Kirby

The lineup was awesome – Kirby opened the show along with a surprise band that turned out to be… drumroll… Harlan Pepper!

It’s always a pleasure to see Kirby perform. His voice still stands out to me as one of my favourites to hear and he has such a warm presence, on and off stage. Hamilton just wasn’t the same when he was away for a few months in B.C.! Kirby has been working on some new tunes and it has been great to hear the new ones live, like “Dark Room,” where he explores a softer sound.

Harlan Pepper
Harlan Pepper

I think the secret leaked pretty quickly that the surprise act would be Harlan Pepper – and I was pumped! I saw them last in the fall during the Folk’d Up Friday series and was thoroughly impressed. I was excited to finally get to meet them formally, too. It felt like we knew each other already, especially after we’ve been keeping tabs on each other over social media.

Getting to see Harlan Pepper live at Baltimore was a fitting setting for them, with the dim lighting and antique-filled interior. The acoustics were great in there and it was the perfect spot for the boys to let loose with their folk-rock sounds. The place was packed and a bunch of us moved up to the front to get closer to the action.

Harlan Pepper
Harlan Pepper

Dan, Thompson, Marlon, and Jimmy are a fun bunch! Their energy is infectious and they always get the crowd moving. You can tell how much fun they have playing together too. They’re so fantastic now, that it’s really exciting to think where they’ll be down the road. HP are doing us proud!

Catch Harlan Pepper next locally on May 6th at The Casbah with another act I discovered through the Folk’s Up Friday shows, The Strumbellas.

Ghosts of Memphis
Ghosts of Memphis

Then it was time for the main event, Ghosts of Memphis. I had only seen Trevor and Gerry perform together so far, but to celebrate the album’s release, they brought a full band of musicians. The album is full of lush instrumentals – strings, piano, trumpet, banjo, organ, you name it. Even some beatboxing courtesy of Hachey the MouthPEACE, who was on hand as well. The live band that night consisted of Mike Yates on cello, Andrea Ramolo on backing vocals, Ken Corke on bass, Josh Harris on drums, and Paul Jarrett on piano.

Hearing them all together, it really brought the album to life and it was lovely to listen to. Songs like “Water” (featured in my video) and “Rails” sounded really powerful with the full band.

Ghosts of Memphis. Taken with Instagram.
Ghosts of Memphis. Taken with Instagram.

The Boxcar Sound team were also in the house – Matt Montour, who I spent the most time with in the studio, produced and engineered the album. Sean Pearson mixed it, and Ben Somer mastered it. It’s amazing to think how many people go into the making of a record – something I’ve enjoyed learning more about in my travels.

After spending so many sessions with the band in the studio, it was rewarding to see everything come together and to know how much this album means to Trevor and Gerry. The two musicians have played in bands of different genres before, but they have really hit the mark with the sound and style they’ve developed as Ghosts of Memphis.

– Kristin

kristin
ihearthamiltontour@gmail.com
Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (www.ihearthamilton.ca), where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing an influential social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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