HomeMusic“Ghost Train” by Matt Westin and Tennessee Outlaw Country

    “Ghost Train” by Matt Westin and Tennessee Outlaw Country

    Country music and rock n’ roll have always gone well together, and we’re reminded as much with a swift kick in the pants from Matt Westin and Tennessee Outlaw Country in the new single “Ghost Train.” Stylized in the southern rock tradition more than the Bakersfield sound, “Ghost Train” is top-heavy and loaded with more guitar thunder than some fans will know what to do with – at least initially – but upon closer inspection, this track reveals what could be the best indie collaboration in the genre to come into a major spotlight in 2022. Westin’s vocal is, on its own, titanic, but when it’s brought forth with an instrumental drive debatably as strong and emotive as any verse he’s ever sung, we get a brand of his style that is difficult for even the most discriminating of critics to resist. His is a talent emblematic of the modern hybrid singer/songwriter, and it’s through his collaboration with Tennessee Outlaw Country that we’re able to appreciate it as much as we can in “Ghost Train” this March. 


    These players are engaged with the rhythm throughout the course of the song well beyond the output of the drums alone, but they’re also not holding back when it comes to their melodic depth, either. As lead vocalist, Matt Westin makes it difficult for skillful players to keep the pace with his harmonies, but you would never know as much just from listening to the way that Tennessee Outlaw Country is able to match his physicality with their own melodic push. The bassline is throbbing beneath this verse, and the mix is clean enough to where we’re able to understand where its presence ends and that of the guitar part is beginning. The swagger that’s coming off of “Ghost Train” isn’t sourced from one player over another, but instead the cohesion they create from bombing away at the hook, which every musician in this mix does masterfully. Admittedly, the guitar element is the brashest of all instrumental components in this single, but I think it needs to be just to solidify the rock n’ roll charisma of the song as a complete piece. 


    It’s a very good time to be a fan of country music, and the underground movements taking place in 2022 are the reason why. There are no rules or boundaries that the modern country musician isn’t willing to cross in the name of expression, and to this end, Matt Westin and Tennessee Outlaw Country are a match made in heaven. There’s a lot of interest in rock and country running together in a singular bloodline not dictated by southern aesthetics exclusively, and these guys seem to have the right setup to satisfy the itch in “Ghost Train.” I’ll have to wait until I see them live to confirm whether or not they’ve got long-term potential as a touring act, but from what I can tell about their studio game, this is not a group of musicians that should be credited as anything less than true professionals. 

    Trace Whittaker

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