Ghost Woman is the self-titled album by singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Evan Uschenko and it’s a crisp mash up of psych, country, krautrock, blues and Americana. The production is superlative, but it still retains a languid but taught feel like sandpaper and honey. The playing is wonderfully laid back, floating somewhere between the first beer of the evening and the round of shots in the early hours.
From the opening gritty tremolo guitar, elastic riffs and vocal harmonies of ‘All The Time’ to the muted Spanish guitar strums and haunted vocals of closing track ‘Comes On’ we are taken on a road trip through some of Uschenko’s influences such as Can, Beak, Jefferson Airplane and The Byrds. But this album is no simple homage but elevates those loves into something exceptional. The heavy jangle of ‘Do You’, the sliding chords and shifting sands of ‘Along’, the desert blues on a horse of ‘Clockwork’, the bright Laurel Canyon crystal-in-the-sun of ‘Behind Your Eyes’ and ‘All Your Love’, the soft undulation of ‘Jreaming’ and the woozy lounge bar vibes of ‘Good’. The standout track, for me, is ‘Dead and Gone’ which was also featured on the Lost Echo’s EP and it’s a fast-paced juddering thrill-ride and I can’t think of many songs where the chorus is the call and response of drums and guitar with no vocals.
The album remind me of lots of things I have never done: driven through the desert at night, stopped at the first diner after 300 miles of blacktop and eaten meatloaf followed by apple pie all washed down with bottomless coffee poured from a bun flask by a wise-cracking waitress called Dolores, pulled up to a gas station where a ruggedly handsome man with his name stitched onto his overalls pumps my gas, stood up to a rattlesnake, watched tumbleweed roll by in a former goldrush town and taken acid high above a canyon as a blanket of stars stretches out beyond my peripheral vision and puny comprehension of time and space.
Evan Uschenko is Canadian born and Arizona dwelling and he has tapped into the rich tapestry of American musical history. He is a man who has not packed his wagon with snake oil, his travelling medicine show does cure what ails you. These are the kinds of ghosts you want to be haunted by, so pull up a stool at the bar, pop a beer, sip your bourbon and enjoy.
The video for ‘Dead & Gone’ looks, to me, like the kind of thing Luis Bunuel would have directed if he were still alive:
Review by Paul F Cook