Ginger Wildheart - Ghost In The Tanglewood album review

Wildhearts frontman finds catharsis in country

Cover art for Ginger Wildheart - Ghost In The Tanglewood album

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Country music has always drawn those with wounds to lick, and it’s a natural canvas for Ginger’s latest songs, written after the Wildhearts leader – who suffers with depression – quit his medication to see if music worked better than pills.

With profits going to The Samaritans, Ghost In The Tanglewood should be applauded on principle. But this music needs no sympathy vote; these are joyous, beautiful, vulnerable songs that can soundtrack only good things. Paying It Forward, decorated with swells of slide guitar, is a rousing gee-up, and when Golden Tears’ lusty shanty demands that we ‘build your courage from the cauldron of these molten tears’, only the flint-hearted would sneer at the hard-won sentiment.

The material is often roistering and upbeat (even The Reaper’s morbid strum, or The Daylight Hotel, whose chiming rock finds Ginger listening through the walls during his treatment at a mental hospital). Yet the songs that really stick are the slowies: Minus You is a dreamy waltz-time stunner, while the wistful Phantom Memories demands headphones and shivers.

A shoulder-rub for the soul.

Henry Yates

Henry Yates has been a freelance journalist since 2002 and written about music for titles including The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Classic Rock, Guitarist, Total Guitar and Metal Hammer. He is the author of Walter Trout's official biography, Rescued From Reality, a music pundit on Times Radio and BBC TV, and an interviewer who has spoken to Brian May, Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Wood, Dave Grohl, Marilyn Manson, Kiefer Sutherland and many more.