Ghost Hounds are rapidly becoming arguably the most exciting act in modern blues rock. Comprised of Tre Nation (vocals), Johnny Baab (guitar), Thomas Tull (guitar), Bennett Miller (bass), Blaise Lanzetta (drums), and Joe Munroe (keys), the Pittsburgh-based sextet has been enjoying rising praise worldwide. After being reformulated, the band released two excellent albums to both critical and fan acclaim, Roses Are Black and A Little Calamity (as an illustration, the latter is ranked 4th on Blues Rock Review’s 20 top albums of 2021 list). Further expanding their horizons, the band releases their newest work: You Broke Me.
Delivering a more blues-based approach than its predecessors, the record presents a collection of tracks that unites the traditional with the modern. In other words, classic blues meets present rock. Written by Thomas Tull and producer Kevin Bowe, the album was recorded live in the studio and the production, although crystalline, allows enough room for the rawness of the recording to be noticed. This adds to the album’s retro-like, yet contemporary approach as much as the songwriting aspect itself.
The album opens with the smoldering number “Baby We’re Through” which has Nation’s vocals soaring sharply over a solid shuffle. It is followed by a steaming version of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lighting,” which adds a fresh dimension to the original with its cleverly added layers of guitar and Nation’s distinctive vocals. “You Broke Me” slows down the tempo for a soulful, tortured vocal performance by Nation, made even more impactful and emotional by the piercing guitar licks ripping through the proceedings.
The acoustic cut “Through Over You” presents a fine harmonica solo that adds to the song’s organic, front-porch blues feel. Although also acoustic and organic, ” Lonesome Graveyard ” leans more towards darker, southern gothic-like stylings. On the other hand, “On Your Trail” picks up the tempo with its dancing, driving beat and playful catchiness.
You Broke Me, Ghost Hounds’ first proper blues album, features much of the best they have to offer by combining vintage blues flavors with rock’s present-day punch. With it, the band also expands its identity and approach and lays the foundation to become one of the genre’s powerhouses. The road is long, but Ghost Hounds are certainly on the right path.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Baby We’re Through
– Smokestack Lightning
– You Broke Me
– Through Over You
– Lonesome Graveyard
– The Big Hit
– You Broke Me