2020 is a year that will not soon be forgotten by anyone who lived it. In the midst of unprecedented chaos and a global pandemic, artists began seeking new ways to be creative and share the gift of music with a world that desperately needed it.
Ghosts of Sunset, featuring former (Dutch Henry) singer-songwriter John Merchant from Western Michigan, and one time Michigan resident and now residing in Florida, multi-instrumentalist and former (The Verve Pipe) drummer Todd Long, dealt with it by releasing an EP called “Headed West”.
“Headed West” found Merchant and Long joined by a cast of musicians with their roots in the 1980’s hard rock/hair metal scene especially in Los Angeles, California. The duo brought in well-known musicians that included Tim Mosher (Junkyard), Traci Guns (LA Guns) , Adam Hamilton (Tuff) , Johnny Monaco (Enuff Z’Nuff) , Stacey Blades (Ratt) and Bruno Ravel (Danger Danger) to name but a few.
The 5-song effort garnered world-wide attention, airplay, downloads and streams for its well-crafted songs that told the story of the rise and fall of a fictional hair-metal band in the 1980s. As ambitious as it was to try and develop characters and a storyline over such a short span, somehow the pair pulled it off and listeners connected. Ghosts of Sunset had found an audience who longed for a connection with a genre they loved, but whose musical tastes were mature enough to demand solid songwriting.
Now, the duo are presenting a full-length album titled “No Saints in the City”. Following the formula laid down by “Headed West”, Merchant and Long once again invited musical input from a cast of influences that includes members of 1980s “hair-metal” staples like Bang Tango, Little Caesar, Lita Ford, and Enuff Z’nuff, but widens its musical palette with guests from bands like Gene Loves Jezebel, the Cruzados, and the Great Affairs.
While not a “concept” in the pure sense that “Headed West” was, “No Saints in the City” still uses its 11 songs to deeply explore characters, their struggles, and the human experience. The album serves up music you can hear with songs you can feel.
The first single on Golden Robot Records, “No Saints in the City” due out on June 8, 2021 mines the fertile soil of the quest to “make it” on the streets of New York City and just what the true cost is spiritually and emotionally. The attention of detail paid to the songs main character instantly connects and draws the listener in.
A second single to be released later in 2021, “If You’re Not Coming Back” looks at addiction, love, and loss with an unflinching eye. Ghosts of Sunset pride themselves in being able to present material with “weight” as well as good-time, punk attitude, solid rock n roll.
“No Saints in the City” still bears the mark and influence of the 1980s hard rock and “hair-metal” scene, but opens its door to a wide-range of influences as varied as late 70s punk and rock n roll like the New York Dolls, the early glitter of Bowie, the ground-breaking work of Hanoi Rocks, as well as artists like Jesse Malin, Lou Reed, Bruce Springsteen and even authors like Danny Lyon and his book “Bikeriders” (a result of a deep affinity for the music of Memphis Tennessee-based rockers Lucero).
Throughout “No Saints in the City”, guitars clash over a relentless bed of driving bass and drums, while lyrics and vocals avoid typical cliché as they further compositions that take twists and turns eliciting a visceral response to every story told.
Ghosts of Sunset and “No Saints in the City” will definitely leave a mark that keeps listeners returning again and again trying to place themselves inside of each story.
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