So, you want to know what The Ghosts #1 song of 2016 was? Patience, grasshopper. We haven’t even begun the Top 5. The four songs spotlighted today are more than worth your attention. Each track has made a major impact upon The Ghost this year. Hopefully, they’ve made an equally strong impact on you as well. And if not, maybe you need to listen (or relisten) to the next four songs.
- Reddening West, “All You Need”
One might think that it’s a strong compliment when The Ghost can write endlessly about your band. Austin band Reddening West perhaps achieved a greater feat upon first listen. This is a direct quote of The Ghost’s upon first listen to the track: “Whoa!” True, I could probably wax poetic about this song, but the overwhelming beauty of this track is still best summarized by that one word caption. The amazing thing is that upon the introduction to this song, I still become overwhelmed by its beauty. Whoa indeed.
- Hightower, “Wondering Eye”
I think that The Ghost’s love of Hightower has been well documented, and I’m hoping that my readers have been paying attention throughout the year. For those who haven’t been paying attention, I’m going to make what would seem to be an odd request: do not start with “Wondering Eye”. I recommend being with either “Phantom Pains” from Echo Spring or the title track. Either of those songs will grab your attention immediately, whereas “Wondering Eye” is the type of song that slowly captures and captivates your spirit. There’s a laid back sweetness to this track that may take repeated listens to appreciate. Once you get it, however, it will manage to earn an extremely soft spot in your musical heart.
- Jacob Furr, “Estacado (Live)”
The journey for my love affair with this song began in an unusual way: with another performer covering this song. When Rebecca Jozwiak performed my first Acoustiganza at Opening Bell Coffee, she performed an absolutely gorgeous cover of this song. I later received a copy of the Live at the Live Oak album, featuring this wonderful version of the song. Even though I love the version that later appeared on this Sierra Madre album (easily my favorite album of 2016), the song’s beauty is best appreciated in this stripped down form. Ms. Jozwiak performed the song once again at this year’s Ghosty Awards, discussing some of the personal tragedy he’s gone through, particularly after losing his wife to cancer. The line “I know I’m ready to cry now” only becomes more haunting and beautiful upon learning his history.
- Charley Crockett, “In the Night”
You didn’t think I was going to forget about Mr. Crockett, did you? This was certainly a huge year for the performer, and deservedly so. No one has done more to revitalize interest in Blues music in this city like Crockett. I’d argue no one else puts on a live show like him. I’m guessing y’all agree, considering that he won both the Reader’s Ghosty and Ghost’s Ghosty for Best Live Act. Crockett was not at the Ghosty Awards, but when Dezman Lehman (Dezi 5) came to accept the award, he began singing “In the Night”, and the entire audience joined in. It’s an immediately identifiable song, with its great organ riff that kicks off the song. Once Crockett’s vocals kick in, the song kicks in full force. Crockett’s voice is a versatile one, capable of tackling everything from blues to country to soul. “In the Night”, in the Ghost’s eyes, was one of the most defining songs of 2016. It was a song that permeated the consciousness of most local music lovers. It’s also easily the strongest song both vocally and melodically that Crockett has created. Yes, Crockett has proved to be a musical force to be reckoned with in 2016, and here’s hoping that his presence only grows in the years to come.
That only leaves one song to go for tomorrow. I’m not going to tell you what the song is, but I will give a hint of sorts: the artist with the #1 song had another song to chart in the Top 101. In fact, this act will be the only artist to have two songs on the countdown. That’s all the clues that The Ghost is giving for now. I’ll give you links to help you review and try to guess who has the #1 song of the year.