Local music review: The Ghost and The Guest’s self-titled album, and Elapsed by Santo Guzman
There’s talent all around us just waiting to be discovered. Two local artists on the rise are Jake Workman and his band The Ghost and the Guest, and Santo Guzman. They both have new albums on the market which can be found on iTunes.
The Ghost and the Guest (5/5 stars)
The Ghost and the Guest is comprised of three artists: Ty Matsumura on drums, Jessica Workman providing vocals and Jake Workman on guitar, mandolin, bass and vocals.
They have a very distinct sound and style, and I personally have a hard time putting a genre label on them. While they have a folk music feel to them, they also seem like a blending of western folk music with rock opera.
Their recent self-titled CD is more than just a collaboration of songs. It’s a complete conceptual album blending a story in with its music. The story is about the life of a man named Henry Pickett Pratt, who lived in the late 1800s and early 1900s, which was a wild and adventurous time.
Workman read a copy of Pratt’s journal, which is where the inspiration for this album came from, and then he wrote the album during his studies at the University of Utah.
“His story is one of forgiving others and self” wrote Workman in a preface of The Ghost and the Guest.
Every song on this album is a different story from Pratt’s life, from his upbringing in Colorado, the death of his wife and a period of Pratt’s life where he hopelessly wandered the land after his wife’s death.
Every song is captivating and showcases Workman’s prowess of several different instruments, such as the song “The Same” which provides a very tasty example of talented mandolin playing.
My personal favorite would have to be the song “Pickett.” This song has a very fast tempo, with a passionate story told of Pratt wandering the country, looking for revenge on his wife’s murderers.
The passion of the song comes through very strong in Workman’s voice. “Pickett” pulls the listener in with a tempo slow down, which is brought back up to speed with Jake yelling the line “they’re not taking me alive!”
Elapsed (4/5 stars)
Elapsed is Santo Guzman’s first album, through the record company Feel Good Music Coalition. His style comes across as a relaxed, upbeat style of hip-hop. His music is even, dare I say, inspirational.
Guzman is a young but talented hip-hop singer. He’s been writing rhymes since the sixth grade, a lot of which has been inspired by watching his parents, who emigrated from Mexico, work hard to make ends meet.
Guzman’s songs have many different topics, ranging from peer pressure to join a gang, to having a crush on a girl at school.
Elapsed is a good listen. I don’t often find hip-hop artists palatable, but it’s safe to say that I found Guzman to be an exception. One of the aspects of the genre that tends to drive me away from it is the content of the songs, which is not an issue with Elapsed.
“Feel Good Music is a label focus on making heartfelt, fun, and real to like music minus the vulgarity and sexually explicit content” states the company’s website, and Elapsed sticks to that creed.
There is no vulgarity or explicit content to be found anywhere on Guzman’s album. I find that very respectable, and honestly, I believe it means Guzman’s got some serious talent, if he can create great, clean music.
Elapsed has a very fun, upbeat, easy to listen to feel. My personal favorite from the album is “Vivo Bien.” This song is very upbeat and blends some Spanish into the lyrics. While the entire song isn’t in Spanish, I feel that Guzman was able to show some of his heritage through this music.