Sally Barker’s Ghost Girl is an album of love songs in a country and jazz style. Sally’s voice beautifully captures it’s emotions - and there are many emotions explored. Think Kirsty MacColl’s ‘Tropical Brainstorm’ - a song full of bluesy, country woman power. Barker’s first song of the album begins in this way; 'Emperor of Cool' is full of great comebacks and sass! I love it.
'I’m Not Whole' has a lovely mix of voice, guitar, and piano. Her low voice really adds to the depth of the song and perfects its distinct country sound. There’s a vulnerability to the way she sings this song; a very difficult skill to master. The third song of the album, 'Like Sugar', explores a wife’s loneliness while her husband is a soldier at war. She is courted by a man who doesn’t seem to mind her poverty, and the temptation to give in to him is all too strong.
The album’s titular song, 'Ghost Girl', really captures the feeling of the album. It discusses feelings of deception and betrayal with the recurring like “was that supposed to be love?”. Despite it’s poppy, upbeat sounds, the song tells of the ghost girl dying for love, and forever haunting her old lover.
'Vampire of Love' is a mournful love song set in Victorian England; the days of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Again, Sally’s voice encapsulates the feeling of this song. She is a master at capturing emotion.
'Two Hearts' begins with the distinct twangy sounds of a country song, reminding me of the greats like Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton. It has a beautiful country melody accompanied by simple but sweet acoustic guitar. Barker’s voice really shines in this song. It’s a straight up love song, about the fresh beginnings of a romance.
'Queen of Reckless Feelings' again reminds me of Kirsty MacColl. It’s jazzy and full of a woman’s feelings of power and independence. You find yourself clicking along with this sassy song. The second to last song is possibly my favourite on the album. 'Canada' was influenced by the British Government in the early 1800s who were encouraging people to emigrate to Canada due to its flourishing fur trades. The song is told from a woman’s point of view who dreams of the wonders of Canada. The album’s last song is a reprise to it’s title track, a simple and beautiful piano piece that sweetly ends the album.
What I really like about this album is that is has clear country and jazz routes. It’s an album of love songs, typical for a country singer, but they’re all unique topics. Barker has come at these love stories from a different angle, giving the songs a unique understanding of relationships and love. Not many country singers sing of vampires in Victorian England! Barker’s style may remind me of Kirsty MacColl, Patsy Cline, and Dolly Parton, but her lyrics are truly her own. Unique in their topics and unique to her.