Ghost of Good Times video from Full Cord

Full Cord – photo by Scott Simontacchi

Dark Shadow Recording has released their first single with Michigan’s Full Cord, along with an accompanying music video. The band signed with Dark Shadow some impressive performances at the 2021 World of Bluegrass. They went on to win the 2022 Telluride Bluegrass Band Competition.

Ghost of Good Times is a powerful song, touching on a number of themes with which many artists and songwriters have done battle. But like so many bluegrass arrangements, it ends up sounding a lot more cheerful than its subject matter.

Mandolinist and vocalist Brian Oberlin shared some of the background on the song.

Ghost of Good Times was written by my longtime music partner, Glenn House of Portland, Oregon. We started the Michigan-based band Grasshoppah in 2001, and played nearly 1000 shows over a busy five year period. Glenn’s song-writing and music acumen has always inspired me, and his song has made me laugh and cry on stage/studio since it was written in 2011. Those emotions from me are generally reserved for Beethoven’s or Shostakovich’s music, but Glenn has found a way to strike a chord.  

My view of Ghost is a strong sentiment that I closely relate to, as not only are the lyrics a song-writer’s story, in the fashion of John Prine and Greg Brown (both musicians Glenn and I adore), but the content hits home as I have struggled with letting go of alcohol and drugs that facilitate ‘good times.’ Glenn’s version is slow and epic in its anthem-like themes, while Full Cord’s version has a little speed and fire under it; as if we are dancing with the Ghost, but not hand in hand, and on a different dance floor.”

Support on the track comes from regular bandmates Eric Langejans on guitar, Grant Flick on fiddle, and Todd Kirchner on bass, along with newest member Ricky Mier on banjo. They have been together more than 15 years in varying stages of activity.

The music video was shot in the studio by Stephen Mougin and Daniel Schimmel. It nicely captures the vibe of the new single and the performing energy of Full Cord.

Have a look/listen…

Ghost of Good Times is available now from popular download and streaming services online, and to radio programmers via AirPlay Direct.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.