Haunting Harmonies in The Talbott Brother's Album 'Ghost Talker'
Updated: Dec 29, 2020
The summer of 2012 was a memorable one for The Talbott Brothers, who started performing together as a folk duo. Brothers Nick and Tyler, originally from Nebraska, moved to Portland Oregon to pursue their musical venture. But music was not new for the brothers, as they’ve been playing together ever since they found their Dad’s old guitar from his days in an Eagles cover band. The Talbott Brothers’ are playing music that is simple and authentic Americana, with harmonies that will put you in a trance.
The Talbott Brothers latest release was their second full length studio album, 2019’s Ghost Talker. The album starts with their pop-influenced single, ‘Run No More,’ where Tyler begins singing, “It doesn’t get easier the further I run/ It gets harder to carry the weight of what I’ve done.” These lyrics are the first you hear of the album, which truly set the scene of the stories that are to come- and prompts the listener to meditate on their words. Following the introspective theme is their track ‘Shadowboxing,’ a song about fighting with your own fears. The repeating guitar melody sings hand in hand with the brothers, and allows space for their profound lyrics. The powerful drum hits that come in through the last ⅓ of the song perfectly paints the scene as the listener can envision the internal ‘shadowboxing.’
While the brothers write personal stories, they also encapsulate their storytelling abilities in songs like ‘James Bell’ and ‘Man on the Ledge.’ The song ‘James Bell,’ tells a haunting tale about a man who was only fulfilled by his job, which he was eventually let go from, which left his life purposeless. The message in this song I think sings to a place where we are in society. Many are often absorbed by their careers just as James Bell was, and forget the importance of building and maintaining human relationships. ‘Man on the Ledge,’ has a more uplifting message. The brothers are singing to the man on the ledge, giving him hope to “fight for another day.” This tune brings out the blues in the brothers, with bellowing voices and guitar riffs filled with cries of emotion. The cherry on top of the album, ‘Bitter’ alternates between palm muted power chords and a fuller arrangement for the chorus. But once 2:37 hits, there is a build up to the end, with a crowd singing along and a distorted electric guitar. The last track emphasizes what the brothers explained their album to be about, “Everyone has ghosts, whether they talk about them or not. We wanted to take off the mask and be honest with this record, hoping that what we needed to say is what people needed to hear.”. And as the crowd in ‘Bitter’ sang in union, we are also united in the fact we’re all just people fighting with our own ghosts.
These brothers are clearly just getting started; they’re more than musicians, they're storytellers. Their style is like a stripped down Mumford and Sons, with harmonies that weave into each other like puzzle pieces. By the end of this album they are fusing together pop, rock, folk, and blues in a way that is all their own.
LONG STORY SHORT: This album is a novel you can listen to. Wait for a rainy day to listen to this one.