Doug Wendt’s GHOST TOWN SOUND debut recording has officially been released by Midnight Dread Records. Rex Foundation honoree Wendt’s live performance creation uniquely blends western, native, reggae, and dub poetry styles. It’s being hailed as “utterly original & deeply enjoyable”, “haunting music…ancient & prophetic, nostalgic & futuristic”, a “creative masterpiece” that “sets a new bar”. GHOST TOWN SOUND was recorded at Bongo Boy, Hollow Bone, Unit 8, and Tuff Gong Studios in California, Idaho, England, and Jamaica. Jimmy Foot co-produced the album with Doug.
The track listing includes several compositions with lyrics by Wendt including “Vision Quest USA”, “Auditor”, “Empty Town”, “Ohtahku”, and “American Ghost Town”, the latter song a new version produced by Steve Marshall of his Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry CD’s title selection THE END OF THE AMERICAN DREAM. A track provided by Indigenous Resistance entitled “Crow Testament” came from a Steven Stanley remix at Tuff Gong Studios in Kingston, JA. The album includes many songs with Montana references. Other highlights include “ND Waza Bat” written by original landlord Keith Secola from the wide-ranging ‘Great Native American Songbook’ as well as Neil Young’s “Boxcar” and Bob Dylan’s “Tiny Montgomery”. Players include Daniel Orlick’s Posse (C-Dub), Jimmy Foot (Reggae Jackson & The Rhyth-O-Matics), Doug Sternberg (Jah Provide), Marc Wendt (Lumanation), Steve Powell, Stevie Culture, Catherine-Rose Wendt, Doug and many others.
An image from Deeling Gregory’s painting “Mystic Traveler” is the CD’s cover. Another of her series of large scale Ghost Town Sound paintings “Spirits Grazing” also serves as the album’s artwork. The CD’s first official video and signature song “Ohtahku” (about the Great Falls of The MIssouri) can be seen on Vimeo or on the band’s website.
The Rex Foundation honored Wendt with its rare and prestigious Ralph J. Gleason Award in 2015.
Ghost Town Sound has performed at The Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, Machinery Row, Alley Galleria, The Summer Music Series, and Sound of the Falls Fest in Montana, as well as Ashkenaz and the World One Festival in California and other such events in The Rockies and beyond. Beautiful original edition hard copies are available from Worldbeat, P.O.Box 536, Black Eagle, MT 59414 USA, $15 postpaid. Please PayPal support to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Know your origins Ohtahku! Twilight comes daily. “It was a mysterious and unique sound only known to this place… Ohtahku, the ghost town sound…”
www.ghosttownsound.com www.deeling.com www.catwendt.com
Early reviews of GHOST TOWN SOUND:
Def Jam veteran / Rap Raven Bill Adler hails the Ghost Town Sound album as “Utterly original and deeply enjoyable” and then continues “I girded my loins and roped in, as advised, and I was still blown away by ‘Ghost Town Sound’. Beautiful original work.”
“It melds native legends, Montana landscapes, & spooky lyrics set to a funky island beat. Wendt wrote or co-wrote more than half the songs, & his spectral interpretations stir the dust of forlorn and long-deserted western towns. But his vision goes beyond geographical boundaries, encompassing a world threatening to disappear like the barren towns, nay, civilization of yore, due to humanity’s excesses…definitely ghostly and different.” -Mariss McTucker, LIVELY TIMES & MT ARTS
“The abandoned streets of boomtowns, populations dwindling to a handful, might be what comes immediately to mind with the term ‘ghost town.’ For Doug Wendt, a ghost town is something different. On the first album of Wendt’s band, Ghost Town Sound, the metaphor is spoken aloud — it’s the abandonment, the ‘hollowing out’ of things, malls replacing the downtowns, income inequality. ‘It calls out for some type of recognition. Music is a great vehicle to get a message out,’
The newly released album is the combination of years of work with a core group of five to six people. It began simply enough with a weekly DJ show Wendt and others performed at Gibson Park. From that, Ghost Town Sound ultimately was born.
Wendt’s baritone, menacing at times and other times playful, rolls over the instrumentation of the band, sometimes with heavy drop beats and other times with solitary guitars and backup vocals. The songs, several of which were written or co-written by Wendt, are inspired by Native stories or local folk and urban legends — the mysterious sound that once emanated from the Great Falls area and a famous stray dog that lived in Butte make cameos on the disc.” -Briana Wipf, GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE
“Influenced heavily by reggae, surf rock, Native American teachings, slam poetry, Montana history, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Gorrilaz and Leonard Cohen. And, those are just the ones that an average listener can pick up. There’s undoubtedly many others that are bubbling under the surface that make this Hodge-podge collection of songs hum… Doug and the rest of Ghost Town Sound — Jimmy Foot, Doug Sternberg, Steve Powell along with Marc and Cat Wendt, do their best to respect the source material and let it stand on it’s own merits. And while these are quite enjoyable, my favorite track has to be ‘Auditor,’ which essentially is a tribute to my hometown, Butte, America… This album works best when Wendt and company are tapping into that lore that comes across as a little eerie, odd and interesting. It’s a bold move…” -Jake Sorich, BIG SKY STATE BUZZ
“Not everyone could find the nexus between reggae, Blackfoot history & Western culture, but longtime compadre and reggae maven Doug ‘The Midnight Dread’ Wendt has done it with his Ghost Town Sound band’s new album… check out the video! Really enjoyed the confluences of sounds & cultures… fave tracks: ‘Crow Testament’, ‘Fingerprints’ & ‘Auditor’ … go deh!” -Randall Grass, GM, Shanachie Records & Entertainment
“I am drawn to your haunting music, which is at once ancient and prophetic, nostalgic and futuristic. Deeling’s cover art with its ghost riders is a perfect preface to this creative masterpiece. I totally get ‘Ohtahku’- it’s the magnet that brought me back home to the middle of Montana and infused me with the passion to devote 5 years of my life to stopping a coal plant with its inevitable desecration of this special place. Yours is a powerful message and it deserves a wide audience. Thanks, you two, for creating this special album. In this Ghost Town there are a few who are still awake and appreciative of your extraordinary talents.” -Cheryl Reichert, retired Ohtahku physician
“Damn says Crow! Got your disc today, honored to be on your mail out list. Digging this so much!!! Very original stylee. Bless.” -Marty Dread, ace reggae musician
“That was great. Is that your voice!!! You are the SHIT!!!!!!! Reggae tom waits. We are coming out with our new album soon changing the name to Carlton Pride and Solpride!!!!!!! One love.” -Carlton Pride, deep reggae musician, son of Charley Pride
Master Word Slinger Paul Zarzyski called to say how much he loves the Ghost Town Sound debut album through and through and said it “sets a new bar for Spoken Word.” He especially loves “Vision Quest USA” and “ Summer Is Comin’ ”, the CD’s opening and closing songs.
Canyon Cinema Salon Program Notes, San Francisco CA June 30th, 2014:
Audio visual artist Doug Wendt has been making films and been active in the radio/music business since hosting Focus Collage on Montana radio in the 1960s. Doug received a Masters Degree in Filmmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1972. His award-winning films have been seen in museums and on SNL. Wendt served as President, Board Member, Film Inspector, and Projectionist at Canyon Cinema in the 1970s while managing the Presidio Theatre’s Midnight Movies underground film series. He’s provided assistance for many films including several on Bob Marley, worked as Music Consultant for the 1997 Oscar nominated documentary MANDELA: SON OF AFRICA, FATHER OF A NATION and for an Art in China film as well as Paramount Picture’s 48 HRS with Eddie Murphy in the 1980s. His revealing interview with Peter Tosh is featured through out Peter’s STEPPING RAZOR RED X film.
Wendt’s popular worldbeat VJ dance party, originally presented from 1988-1994 at The Kennel Club in San Francisco, featured hours of custom edited videos compiled by Doug projected onto three large screens. DETAILS MAGAZINE called the unique events “Best Night Out In America” while O GLOBO in Brazil hailed the weekly five hour ever-changing musical trip around the world “An Empire of the Senses”. Doug’s Midnight Dread, World Beat, Deep Sixties, and Native Son Rising radio shows/selections have aired on KFOG, KQAK (The Quake), KQED-TV, KPFA, and KUSF in the bay area plus WXPN and KGPR etc. They currently broadcast daily and stream world-wide on the web via World One keCg out of El Cerrito CA in the San Francisco Bay Area. Other radio shows are archived on websites and Mixcloud.
Doug moved home to Montana from SF in the mid-90s where he finished several new 16mm films being screened to the general public for the first time anywhere tonight. He’s run the local NPR affiliate and taught film classes at two nearby universities. Wendt also started the live music group and radio program, Ghost Town Sound.