Ghostly Beard

Back in the day, I used to be an audio engineer and professor. I thought in one of the best audio schools in Brazil called Audio and Video Institute (IAV in Brazil). For just over five years I had the privilege of meeting some of the most amazing people in music – colleagues and students.

Now that I have shifted my life to other things – including writing about music, I have the absolute pleasure of discovering amazing new artists and musicians.

And one of these amazing people I’ve had the pleasure to meet was Patrick, a.k.a Ghostly Beard.

Last year I reviewed his album “Invisible” and I was absolutely astounded by how amazingly talented Ghostly Beard is. And if you follow him in social media (if you don’t start now!), you will immediately discover this incredibly friendly person, who makes sure he replies, retweets and keeps in touch with everyone. His profile on Twitter is by far one of Bucket List’s biggest supporters online. I cannot thank you enough, Patrick!

I wanted to make this review was a little more thorough than my previous one on Ghostly Beard. So I got in touch with him (very last minute by the way) to learn a bit more about him and his production process.

This French-born and now a Canadian citizen living in Quebec composes, produces, records, mixes and promotes all of this brilliant material himself. I cannot emphasize how this is beyond impressive. A single listen to any of his material, I guarantee you will be as amazed as I am.

Although his main instrument is the guitar, he plays all the instruments in his recording process. And even though the drums are MIDI, he plays all notes through keyboards and pads, so he can make them sound more natural. I’m still amazed by this – not only because I used to work with audio, but I am a drummer myself (I really got to stop mentioning this by the way – sounds like I’m band-hunting).

Ghostly Beard
Ghostly Beard’s home studioo – including his favourite piece – the Kemper Profiling Amplifier on the left

Now – on to his latest release, coming out today, 4th May – “Inward”.

The album starts with the song “How Does It Feel?” – do you know when you are waiting for an artist to release a new song or album, and you build an idea in your head of how you’d like it to sound? His album starts exactly as I expected. A gorgeous acoustic guitar, calmly followed by a melodic guitar and the perfect drum mood, with added ghost notes to sustain a steady rhythm. And this song has such a beautiful solo, which almost feels like it’s hugging the song.

The Love In Your Eyes” has a slight Phil Collins feel to me. The way the bass guitar follows the pace in the kick drums, makes it sound so heart-warming and personal to me. It’s such a great foundation for a song about goodbyes, about letting go. And yet, he managed to make it sound upbeat enough so that it’s not sad.

Autumn Blues” is the perfect intermission to the album. An instrumental blues song, with so many great guitar scales, solos and duos that it truly creates an autumn soundtrack. Leaves falling, filled with rhythm, red, yellow, bright and cold colours.

Ghostly Beard's guitars
Ghostly Beard’s guitars

Night Train” has a very special collaboration with singer, songwriter, poet, multi-instrumentalist, graphic artist and video artist Emma Caiman – all the way from New Zealand. Ghostly Beard has played the guitar on a few of her tracks, so this is a very special musical partnership. This song, in particular, has also a touch of Pink Floyd in some keyboard sounds, and especially on guitar echoes and reverbs. Emma’s voice adds a perfect and impressive layer to this track. Be sure to listen to her songs, as well. I am!

It Doesn’t Matter” we see a bit more of Ghostly Beard’s amazing talent in creating amazing jazz fusion songs. I must say that playing jazz drums on a keyboard is highly impressive. The small notes in the guitar, the short pauses make this song an anthem to how I would describe this amazing artist.

9 to 5 (Barely Alive)” is the longest song on this record. Running on seven and a half minutes, I feel like this song is his Bohemian Rhapsody. The way this song is structured, starting with a slow piano/keyboard pace, with underlying sounds, all the while maintaining his trademark jazz rhythm, leading to a long instrumental section with the best guitar solo in this album. I’m addicted to this track.

Going Away” is the last track on the album. This track shows a bit of his rock and roll side. Cowbells setting the pace, great guitar chords – but most importantly – a very special collaboration: Sarah, Ghostly Beard’s daughter, sings the backing vocals. There is nothing quite as special as sharing your art with someone so close to you.

Not to mention – this last song counts with yet another great guitar solo!

I, unfortunately, had to skip a few songs in this review otherwise this review would get just too long. However, you should not skip a single track while listening to this album. Or you might miss the beautiful lyrics on “Gone“, the gorgeous and slow pace of “Let Go” or the great echo backing vocals of “Let It Rain“.

Ghostly Beard is an artist and person who I am avidly following. I always look forward to any new material, because I am sure to be impressed.

So I cannot emphasize enough. Stop everything, and take some time out of your busy Friday, and listen to this brilliant album.