Acclaimed Calgary-based singer/songwriter and musician Shane Ghostkeeper is best known for his namesake band Ghostkeeper, an act that combines elements of 60s girl-group melodies, country music, 90s indie rock, African pop and traditional indigenous pow wow music, and has developed a reputation for crafting some of the more thrilling and interesting music to emerge from Alberta over the past 15 years or so.
Ghostkeeper stepped out into the spotlight as a solo artist with the recent release of his full-length debut, Songs For My People. Songs For My People is a deeply reverential tribute to the music he absorbed while growing up in the Northern Alberta Métis communities of Paddle Prairie, High Level and Rocky Lane. The acclaimed Canadian artist recruited a close-knit crew of collaborators to help bring his songs to life:
He recruited longtime producer Lorrie Matheson, who has been a part of the Ghostkeeper world from the beginning, working on the band’s 2008 debut And The Children of the Great Northern Muskeg through last year’s Multidimensional Culture. His Ghostkeeper bandmates — JOYFULTALK‘s Eric Hamelin (drums), Chad VanGaalen‘s Ryan Bourne (bass) and Surf Kitties‘ Wayne Garrett (guitar, pedal steel) — are his backing band, and as Ghostkeeper says “their expertise and wide-ranging artistic sensibilities helped elevate this album form what could have been a simple tribute project to another fully-formed entry in our body of work.”
Songs For My People‘s latest single “Sunbeam” is a jammy, joyful and deeply loving synthesis of elements of The Band, 60s psych rock and Creedence Clearwater Revival. “Sunbeam” is a mischievously anachronistic tune that sonically wouldn’t sound out of place in your dad’s or uncle’s classic rock record collection, but while being remarkably modern. The result is as song that sounds a bit like the soundtrack for one of the greatest, weirdest adventures ever known — life.
Ghostkeeper explains that “Sunbeam” was written for his late Uncle Tucker, and the family he left behind. “I was unable to attend his funeral, so I wrote this to express my condolences and support for my Aunty Lorraine and my cousins.
“Tucker was a huge force in the Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement community and beyond, and he was a fiercely dedicated father and husband,” Ghostkeeper continues. “This song started as an acoustic lament and then morphed into a classic rock-style tune once the band and I hit the studio. This was not my intent. However, my Uncle Tucker’s spirit stepped in and said let’s make this a rocker. I have awesome childhood memories of his love for classic rock; Led Zeppelin, T-Rex, and CCR. I will forever appreciate his influence on me.”