July 14, 2009

Van Ghost: Melodies For Lovers

Van Ghost
Michael Berg, Jen Hartswick, Dan Wean, Mike Poupko - photo: Adam George

Michel Berg is, as they say, only human. The Chicago concert promoter had been securing live slots for upcoming bands and all the other artist hoopla for over a decade, but something was missing in his personal life: the spotlights. He wanted to be on stage himself. He had played acoustic guitar in the past and he picked up his instrument again. Fast forward to inception of his band Van Ghost in 2007, a pedal steel powered soft rock band, who have just released an album called Melodies For Lovers.

The trouble with promoters is that most of them are only looking for radio friendly music to get a break at fame and fortune. And Melodies For Lovers is just that, never mind the cooperation of one Jennifer Hartswick (member of TAB) and Rocco Labriola serving up sweet pedal steel licks. Van Ghost is stuck in the middle-of-the-road, where the competition is grueling and where a sound of your own is frowned upon. Every now and then there are promising moments like Do It For You (a violin adding color), the urgency of the lyrics in Lessons and the soulful keyboards and horns funk in I Found Out. Scrape the barrel to find another song and it could have been a nice four track EP.

Van Ghost:
Michael Harrison Berg: guitar, vocals
Jennifer Hartswick: vocals, trumpet
Cory Healey: drums
Rocco Labriola: pedal steel
Dan Wean: guitar
John Cwiok: electric bass

Van Ghost: Melodies For Lovers

Melodies For Lovers is released on Split Red Records.

  1. It All Leads Here
  2. Summer Promise
  3. Do It For You
  4. Everyday Music
  5. Wednesday
  6. Hurry Up
  7. On The Way Home
  8. Through The Years
  9. So Far Away
  10. Satisfied
  11. Nothing To Lose
  12. Lessons
  13. I Found Out
  14. Coliseum
Live dates:
  • 07/26 Wicker Park Fest (w/ Junior Boys, Company Of Thieves and Backyard Tire Fire) Chicago, IL
  • 07/29 Union Hall. Brooklyn, NY
  • 07/30 Metronome, Burlington, VT
  • 08/01 Appalachian Brewing Company, Harrisburg, PA
  • 08/02 North Star Bar, Philadelphia, PA
  • 08/23 Hoxeyville Music Fest, Cadillac, MN

» vanghost.com
» myspace.com/vanghostchicago
» archive.org/details/VanGhost

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