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Thursday, October 30, 2003

Review - Ghosts of the Great Highway

Artist: Sun Kil Moon

Posted on Thu, Oct 30, 2003 at 4:00 AM

Ghosts of the Great Highway
Label: Jetset
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Ghosts of the Great Highway

After a series of solo albums (including 2001's collection of AC/DC covers, "What's Next to the Moon"), Mark Kozelek forms a band to replace the Red House Painters, grabbing founding RHP drummer Anthony Koutsos and guitarist Tim Mooney (American Music Club), whose inclusion seems particularly apt since Kozelek drew comparisons to Mark Eitzel early on. "Ghosts of the Great Highway" puts some distance between Kozelek and the shimmery folk/sadcore of the first few RHP albums, though there are echoes, such as "Floating" or the album opener, "Glenn Tipton." The latter rolls like an Altman tracking shot across a small-town vista, Kozelek's sweet, airy tenor noting over lightly strummed acoustic guitar how some people like Tipton more than his Judas Priest cohort K.K. Downing. But the romantic country-folk lope of "Gentle Moon" and "Pancho Villa" vividly echo Neil Young's "Harvest," and the hometown nostalgia of "Carry Me Ohio," with its insistent jangle and subtle piano tinkling, invokes The Band. The strongest tracks, "Salvador Sanchez" and "Lily and Parrots" are even more reminiscent of Young, bringing a Crazy Horse guitar crunch to bear and submerging Kozelek's laconic melancholia in a thick garage roar.

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