Album Review: Ginger Wildheart – “Ghost In The Tanglewood”

About a year ago, those of us in the Wildhearts fan camp were told by Ginger that he was putting together a folk/country album, and that he was touting it round various labels to some interest. However, having sat back and considered his options, it seems that Ginger has decided to go down his more travelled Pledgemusic route, and released it himself for immediate download to those keen to hear it.

So, should you take the plunge on this one? In a word – yes. There’s always been a mellower strain to Ginger’s music going right back to songs like Geordie In Wonderland and Bad Time To Be Having A Bad Time two decades ago (and yes, writing that does make this reviewer feel just a bit old), and often it’s resulted in some of his best moments, from the two aforementioned through other classics like Inside Out, The Man Who Cheated Death, Casino Bay, Re-Inventing The Wheel and countless others. And Ghost In The Tanglewood carries on this legacy well.

As you’d imagine, this is quite a personal album, with Ginger drawing on a lot of his ups and downs over the last few years. Daylight Hotel appears to be about finding sanctuary, possibly in rehab, but it could be any kind of happy place that helps you block the problems of the world out and clear your mind, while the steel guitar led Pay It Forward has the message of ‘do unto others as you’d have them to unto you’ powering it along.

Golden Tears is the first real standout on the album, a defiant folk song about finding solace when you’re at your lowest moment, while Minus You is a real gut-wrencher about missing your family while you’re away on tour or recording, with closing track Don’t Say Goodbye being cut from similar cloth. Phantom Memories and Remains meanwhile are about dealing with your past while still trying to look forward to the future, and The Words Are Gonna Have To Wait is all about trying to make time in a world that appears to be moving at increasingly dizzying speed.

The cover of Steve Earle’s My Old Friend The Blues (a song Ginger’s long talked about being one of his favourites in interviews) is perfectly executed, while The Reaper takes a look at death and, weirdly enough, ends up coming in as one of the more upbeat songs on this album.

All in all, Ghost In The Tanglewood is a half hour trip through the more reflective and personal end of Ginger’s music, and all the better for it. Definitely well worth your investment.

Final Thoughts

This honestly seems to be an album that just gets better the more I listen to it. It sees Ginger wearing his heart right out on his sleeve and dealing with some incredibly personal subjects but, as always, he does it with the sort of panache that can only come from the experiences he's gone through over the last quarter of a century. Quite simply, this is a great album.

Overall Score 4.5