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Let me preface this by saying that this a review that I should have written and published this review long before now. I have a ton of excuses, but it really doesn't matter. I didn't write it until last week, and I'm not posting until now. I loved this album from my first listen, but for reasons I will not even try to understand it took me a long while to know what to write about it besides, "It is awesome, go buy it!"Although, I do want to say that. I tend to think maybe this album hit a little close to home for me, and that it why it took me so long to get to where I could say what I needed to say. Anyway, I am glad I did. Read and then guy listen to and get this album...
“Here lies my heart, torn and tattered and broke apart…” These words delivered in a rich and resonant drawl opens Nashville-based singer-songwriter Eli Rhodes’ new album Ghost Therapy which is out now.
Certainly, Nashville has no shortage of songwriters, and many of those songwriters are very good. Eli Rhodes sets himself apart not by any tricks or gimmicks, but just by flat out writing some great songs. Rhodes seems to instinctively know when to strip the song down to the barest essentials and when to build a guitar heavy wall of sound. In addition to being an excellent songwriter, Rhodes is a top-notch guitar player. He plays guitar with Benchmarks - the Nashville indie rock band fronted by Todd Farrell.
Throughout it all, it is the words and the songs that take center stage.
Standout tracks include: “Whiskey Drugs Sex Denial” - a stripped down exploration of the vicious cycle of trying to avoid the pain of heartbreak using whatever means necessary. “I get over you, but when the high is over, I start over, right back where I started.” “Lipstick and Percocet” tells a story of a doomed love set to a rocking beat. “I Have Days” uses powerful imagery to describe the unpredictable way that regret and loss can resurface.
The album is called Ghost Therapy, and it becomes clear that the confessional quality of the songs serves a therapeutic purpose for both the writer and the listener. The albums dives into pain and excess and loss and regret with the specific purpose of coming through all of that to find a place of healing and peace.
The album ends with “Ghosts” - a ragged summation that fades into a calm that perhaps shows that the healing has begun.