Taken as a whole Hall of Ghosts is a story about the difficulty of finding purpose, love and laughter in life. Once it is found, it is lost. It is a move in a new direction for Jim Williams and one that I hope he continues to explore in future works.
A Random Quiet makes no secret of its roots in the Folk tradition of of Simon and Garfunkel and Neil Young. This album is poetry set to music.
Bye Bye, Big Blue and Giant Water seem to go together. Giant Water feels like a Beatles tune. The poetry is straightforward. Overall, these are listenable tunes that fit anywhere. There are times when I would like to see him break out a little and give us something unexpected. Being easy on the ears is not a bad thing and these songs are well executed.
We Are Finally Happy For Standing Still is one of my favorite songs. It is less Americana and more Country, Twangy and Bluesy with a very simple beat. Not sure if Hall of Ghosts plans to release on a Country station, but this is the song for that. Again, it is an excellent song that just is happy to be itself.
Volunteers is another anthemic song that would be at home on Easy Listening or in one of those 1970s road movies when they show the scene where everyone smiles right before something tragic happens. The peppy tune belies the lyrics. I would be very interested in hearing this song arranged a different way that was truer to the sadness in the poetry.
Tonight, It’s Over brings us back to a more rootsy, country feel. The changes and the Steel Guitar and nice little guitar riffs throughout make this one of those songs that you definitely want to put on repeat after your break-up. Just you, this song and bottle of your favorite Whiskey and you can write your own country tune... It won’t be as good as this one though.
Track 6 - Hall of Ghosts is just awesome. Everything clicks. While all of the songs on this are very strong instrumentally, this one feels complete. The drums are tightly tied to the music and subtleties in the singing, lyrics and guitar riffs all create an atmospheric effect that enhance the song and build to something bigger and meaningful. Hall of Ghosts manages to be rocking and mellow in just the right proportions. If you are someone who only buys one song off an album, buy this one.
The Wandering includes harmonies and sentiment of a Simon and Garfunkel tune. It is pleasant. A Random Quiet is a dirge. Musically and lyrically it is a sad song. It reminds us that whatever do is fleeting and bound to be washed away by time.
The characters may be searching for meaning and place, but A Random Quiet puts Hall of Ghosts well on its way to establishing a place in Cosmic Americana.
written by Steve Wells