Bob Bradshaw | The Ghost Light Review
By Bea Willis
Bob Bradshaw is a singer and songwriter that prides himself on being a storyteller. His lyrics craft a compelling cast of characters, and their emotions allow you to inhabit them with complete and utter conviction. Bradshaw’s new album is titled The Ghost Light, and it is a collection of characters that will engage you. The cast range from an impulsive daredevil plunging over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel; to a sea-weary pirate lured to his death by a choir of sirens. More often than not, though, he’s simply an everyday soul searching for meaning, hope, and redemption wherever he can find it. “I’ve never been the kind of writer who picks up a pen to process his personal life or purge his emotions,” says Bradshaw. “I write to create, to imagine, and every track on this album is its own little world.”
The opening “Songs on the Radio” pulls from memories of a long-abandoned romance. Full organ and electric and acoustic guitars fill the space around Bradshaw’s singing. The character grapples with heartbreak and regret, memory and nostalgia. The overall sound is a potent mix of folk sophistication and rock and roll force. The harmonized guitar parts add an added feature, provided by guitarists Andrew Stern and Andy Santospago.
“Dream” has a retro 50’s rock vibe with acoustic walking bass and a swaying feel. Bradshaw’s vocals are effortless on the ears, and the vocal harmonies support him during the chorus. The pedal steel offers a sonic variance and that remarkable haunting quality of Americana. Bradshaw shows he can sing many styles with conviction.
The Ghost Light is a collection of songs representing various characters and stories that you will find easy to follow and relate to repeatedly. The emotions expressed by the characters are honest, and the band’s playing is outstanding. Though Bradshaw’s singing style falls into the songwriter category, his tone and control are not the focus or driving sound of the songs; the focus is the emotion and overall vibe of the song’s impact on the listener. The music is impressive all the same, and a rewarding listen.
Artist: Bob Bradshaw
Release Date: April 30, 2021