If, like me, your first encounter with Mark Henes’ music was the low-slung, gutter rock infused Strip Me Down, you might find that as Ghost Train’s dulcet tones wash out of the speakers you quickly double check that this is indeed the same person. Well it is, and the fact that the two tracks are so different makes two poignant points. Firstly we live in an age where artists don’t feel that they have to adhere to any one particular genre, that they can hop those old tribal demarcations and explore any sound and style that they wish. It also says that here we have an artist with the skills to be able to, not only make such leaps, but who can land sure-footedly on solid sonic ground.
Ghost Train is a lilting, country soaked sound; banjos chime, pedal guitars wash, violins soar and the imagery of trains and of heading home is put to good use, these are after all the stock in trade of the classic American musical experience. But again, as he revisits those timeless sounds and gently re-invents them for a new world, he fashions a song that is very much of the here and now with just a respectful tip of the hat, a wide brimmed stetson I suspect, to the outlaw country players and Nashville stars who made the sound so recognisable in the first place. The past being remade in the present to ensure a bright future. Good work sir!