Late Saturday night, I found myself at the Queen City Music Hall in downtown Fort Worth to see a band called !!!.
But as much as I wanted to hear a band with only punctuation marks in its name, it wasn’t there when I got there. Queen City had conflicting information on its calendar; instead of the exclamatory band, we had We the Ghost on stage. The band has actual vowels, consonants and Beau Tyler (vocals, acoustic guitar), Jocelyn Rowland (violin), Dain Samuelson (djembe), Jimmy Dean Adams (drums), Matt McHan (lead guitar) and Ben Mosier (bass).
We the Ghost is an indie/pop rock band out of Tulsa, Okla. Its website talks prominently about the band’s chemistry — what band website does not? However, it’s more than a buzzword in this case. The membership of We the Ghost have more chemistry than Breaking Bad. Front man Beau Tyler says the band members support each other like family through some trying times:
“I lost my father before the making of this album,” said Tyler, “and that last song we played, Letters to God, is about him and kind of wishing he could be back to [talk to me] whenever there’s a fork in the road. Matt lost his dad of cancer in the same year. This band saved our lives because everyone went through some kind of trauma around the formation of this band. It’s been more of a brother- and sisterhood.”
The sonic alchemy on stage at Queen City was prominent. The hand percussion keeps things in the rhythm section from being too pop-ish, the tasteful violin work and the acoustic guitar take the edge off of the excellent electric guitar that McHan serves up. Tyler’s vocals are emphatic and heartfelt. At one point McHan and Mosier switched instruments and Mosier bashed out an impressive guitar solo. The band was polished, balanced, tight and professional. Not the most soulful act out there, but charming and engaging. Even after a long day, I could have a used a few more songs.
Tyler is the lyricist, and writes songs ranging from normal relationship stuff to more weighty issues like the death of his father. Everyone in the band has a hand in the creation.
“I start them off on the acoustic guitar,” Tyler explains,” but it’s a band of equal minds. However what ends up on the record is about 10 times better. It’s a pretty organic thing. I just bring in my cheesy pop songs and they make them not so cheesy.”
Fromage is not a characteristic I would use for this band. I’ve been playing a copy of the upcoming CD (available for free if you sign up on the website, wetheghostmusic.com), and it’s certainly a well-executed bit of songwriting. The band has even been nominated for rock album of the year at the L.A. Music awards. Having a good lyricist with some vision is essential; having a band that can shape that vision into a work of collaborative art is another thing entirely.
“I think the central message of any song that we have” Tyler says, “is that it’s almost like something’s missing, but the music is what makes it whole, and gives it a sense of hope. A sense of light at the end of that tunnel.”