“Ghost Tattoo” features some of the very brightest, most intelligent music being performed today – in an evocative synthesis of folk and bluegrass that is greater than the sum of its parts. Eloquently written, virtuosically played by the band members, this is one release that needs to emerge and be heard during these troubled times.
Kristen Grainger’s “The Ghost of Abuelito,” about the child detentions on the Mexican border, is a song that Phil Ochs would have been proud to claim. Like Och’s best work, it is hard-hitting, narratively detailed, and melodically memorable. One of the most important statements about this stain on U.S. integrity and morality I have yet heard from a contemporary songwriter.
The entire collection of songs, however, is worthwhile and sparsely enough produced to really hear the nuance of the beautiful string arrangements. Kristen’s husband, Dan Wetzel, does a masterful job of not only singing and performing but keeping everything complimentary and out of the way of the memorable lyrics and song construction. Recorded, mixed, and mastered at Dale Adkin’s Big Owl Recording Studio in Sunriver, Oregon-the entire production is clean as a whistle. Speaking here as a grizzled veteran of 50 years in folk music- “Ghost Tattoo” by Kristen Grainger and True North is as good as it gets.
Producer, River City Folk
Syndicated radio broadcast since 1985- heard on www.folkmusicnotebook.com, KIOS-FM in Omaha, NE, KSJE in Farmington, New Mexico, KZUM in Lincoln, NE and many other fine public radio stations across the U.S.