Ghost Light has definitely captured the attention of Rock At Night with their supernal brand of rock music. If you can imagine waking up from a dream containing a great soundtrack and realizing that the great music in your dream was indeed real, this is the feeling that Ghost Light evokes. For people who appreciate good music, they are a dream come true. The band consists of guitarists/singers Tom Hamilton and Raina Mullen, pianist Holly Bowling, and drummer Scotty Zwang. The band recently released their highly-anticipated debut record, Best Kept Secrets, to much acclaim and are currently in the midst of an impressive North American tour.
“I think of this album like a bunch of abstract paintings,” says Hamilton. “We present the songs as a series meant to be experienced in a certain order, but at the end of the day, whatever that series makes you feel is totally up to you.” In that sense, Ghost Light’s brilliant debut album, Best Kept Secrets, functions much like the band itself, drawing beauty and strength from both its complementary pairings and its unexpected juxtapositions.
Formed in 2017, the group brings together five consummately talented artists from across the musical spectrum and thrusts them into a wholly new context. The result is a record that transcends the sonic contributions and background of any single member, a collection that’s at once gritty and refined, sprawling and restrained, straightforward and psychedelic. Hamilton and Mullen began writing the core of the album in the spring of 2017, focusing solely on instrumental arrangements at first as they chased new sounds and experiences with a little bit of chemical assistance.
“We wanted to see what would happen if we opened up some new creative doors, so we got a whole bunch of LSD,” remembers Hamilton with a laugh. “Twice a week for a few months, Raina and I would eat acid and just work in the studio all night.” The songs they wrote during those sessions were epic and immersive, influenced by a broad array of stimuli from the tense American political atmosphere to classic cinema. While many of the tracks would ultimately end up being fleshed out with lyrics, several tunes remained fixed as instrumentals even on the finished album. One at a time, the rest of the band began visiting Hamilton and Mullen to delve into the process of fleshing out those early demos. Lyons and Zwang developed bass and drum parts, respectively, and Bowling brought some of her own compositions to the table in addition to contributing keyboard arrangements.
The process of artistic cross-pollination proved to be a rich one, and it helped break new ground for all involved. With a vision for the album coming into focus, the band headed into the studio in the fall to begin official recording sessions, working out of a 4,000 square foot former Chrysler factory in Philadelphia. The sessions marked the first time all five members had ever been in the same room together. The group’s live shows are far looser than their laser focused and airtight album, with songs frequently blossoming into extended improvisational journeys dictated by the emotional temperature of the room on any given night.
In support of the recent record, Ghost Light continues touring throughout the U.S. with dates scheduled now through the summer, with multiple festival appearances. A full list of dates can be found below.
Ghost Light Tour Dates
4/9 – Fayetteville, AR – George’s Majestic Lounge
4/10 – St. Louis, MO – Old Rock House
4/11 – Columbus, OH – Woodlands Tavern
4/12 – Louisville, KY – Zanzabar
4/13 – Covington, KY – Madison Live
4/16 – Nashville, TN – Basement East
4/17 – Asheville, NC – Asheville Music Hall
4/18 – Charleston, SC – Pour House
4/20 – Charlotte, NC – Visulite Theatre
4/24 – Birmingham, AL – Zydeco
4/25 – Jackson, MS – Duling Hall
4/27 – New Orleans, LA – Republic NOLA
5/9 – Hamden, CT – Space Ballroom
5/10 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl
5/11 – Portland, ME – Portland House of Music
5/15 – Providence, RI – Columbus Theatre
5/16 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club
5/17 – Asbury Park, NJ – Wonder Bar
5/18 – Washington, DC – The Hamilton
5/19 – Corolla, NC – Mike Dianna’s Grill Room
5/24 – 5/26 – Long Creek, SC – Long Creek Music Festival
5/24 – 5/26 – Chillicothe, IL – Summer Camp Music Festival
5/25 – Martinsville, VA – Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival
6/6 – 6/8 – Wellston, MI – Camp Greensky Music Festival
6/6 – 6/9 – Stephentown, NY – Disc Jam
6/27 – 6/30 – Rothbury, MI – Electric Forest Festival
7/5 – Boulder, CO – Boulder Theater
7/18 – 7/21 – North Plains, OR – Northwest String Summit
7/20 – Roseberry, ID – Summer Music Festival at Roseberry
7/25 – 7/28 – Scranton, PA – Peach Music Festival
7/26 – 7/27 – Burlington, VT – Tumble Down Festival
8/2 – Johnstown, PA – Flood City Music Festival
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I'm a photojournalist who is passionate about music. I love the adrenaline of shooting live concerts. Photography has given me the opportunity to photograph some of today's most legendary bands, and entertainers. When I'm not photographing music you can find me on the runway shooting New York and Philadelphia Fashion Week.
Favorite quote: “Photography is a love affair with life.” — Burk Uzzle