As the molten irons of summer begin to cool and autumn ushers in a sleepier sun with colorful terrain and cooler temperatures, our olfactory senses unpack cedar chests of nostalgia to savor the season. Some records have core-essential ingredients that celebrate the seasonal turn-of-page.
When Red House Painters disbanded in 2001, it left front man Mark Kozelek in a state of tumultuous inspiration. Setting his sights on the open road of possibility and freedom, he ventured into the unknown realms of a solo career. The result of this mid-career soul searching crafted one of the finest capsule recordings of the season.
Ghosts of a Great Highway, which debuted in 2003, is an organic harvest of melodic patchwork and vibrant arrangements of Americana soul. Balancing blissfully tender, frail vocals with brilliant guitar melodies, the album defines true victory in darker times while understanding the importance of past experience.
The winding byways of “Carry Me Ohio,” “Gentle Moon” and “Si, Paloma” grip the curves of emotion while “Salvadore Sanchez” and “Pancho Villa” allow the ears of imagination to gander at a majestic lifescape with retrospective delight. Wind down the year, enjoy the bonfire of memories and let this record serve as your music sweater this fall.
– Chris Rucker