NORWICH – Thursday’s offering of live music as a part of the NBT Summer Concert Series of performances brings on of the most unique and eclectic blues-esque ensembles known as the Ghost Town Blues Band.
Flying high on their recent achievement of clenching the Best Contemporary Blues Song for 2015's “Hard Road To Hoe,” the album of the same name has been turning the heads of both newb blues-fusion enthusiasts and old school memphis footstompers alike.
“We definitely have a Memphis sound because, well – we’re from Memphis,” said multi-instrumntalist and frontman Matt Isbell. “It's a very eclectic mix of cigarbox slide guitar, rock 'n roll drums, a horn section with pounding keys.”
Ghost Town's smothered and covered recordings serve no justice to the commanding energy their live offerings demand, most notably the second line intro of its horn section.
“Somebody once said we were like "electric cat fishing." That's when you take two leads and attach them to a battery then drop the wires in the water,” explains Isbell. “It might not be the most traditional way of doing it but it definitely gets the job done and it's a lot more fun than the same old method.”
Since 2010 the group has been charting, earning themselves the “Best Blues Band and 2014 International Blues Challenge Runner-up.
Definitely not your grandpa’s blues band, their live show has been captivating audiences here at home in the U.S. and Canada. From penetrating brass, cigar box guitars and electric push brooms to Allman Brothers style jams and their rapping trombone player, percussionist Preston McEwen bassist Matt Karner alone are a punishing rhythm duo to be reckoned with.
Wielding a cigar box guitar self-built for raunchy licks combined with a raspy Dr. John-like whiskey-and-smoke-soaked set of pipes, Isbell—with backup from guitarist Taylor Orr, trombonist Suavo Jones and Jeremy Powell on keys—guarantee to bring the funk-nasty to the heart of greater Chenango while fanning notoriety along the blues festival and jam circuit this summer.
Ghost Town Blues Band is a modern blues band with an intimate knowledge of both blues, rock and improvisational jams. And at the same time, the band’s raw energy and intensity is reminiscent of some of the best blues that rock n' roll has ever offered. Definitely a show worthy of making the trip into town—or across the state to see.
A bit of advice: get to East Park early; it's going to fill up quick—and be sure to pack a lawn chair and a blanket for the show, downbeat at 7 p.m.