A solitary acoustic guitar with mellow drums in the background isn’t bound to wow anyone with this much music history already recorded, but Liverpool artist Kete Bowers still manages to capture something grippingly plaintive in “Ghosts.” With a deep and somber voice, Bowers conveys an uncanny atmosphere of loss and regret in just 4 minutes and 14 seconds. The delicate acoustics and full chorus paint gray skies, streets choked with sleet, and leafless trees. The wail of the slide guitar avoids sounding hackneyed and instead evokes a distant howl in conjunction with a setting sun, Bowers crooning tastefully with a keen sense of control.
The well-treaded ground of country, folk, and blues is undeniable in “Ghosts,” but what separates it from contemporary country is a genuine callback to country’s foundation, and that soulful folk aura is admirably pretty in its execution.
“Ghosts” is from Bowers’ second album, White River Road, which has already received critical acclaim from critics for its genuine and melancholic approach to country. For all the bad press and embarrassing clichés that mark the country era in this post Dylan/Cash-world, it’s refreshing to see some dignity injected back into the genre.