More reviews on the CD

First a review in from the good folks (Fred Mills) at Blurt Online.

There’s opening track “Mr. Lonely,” with its triple-threat echoes of “Copperhead Road,” “Not Fade Away” and (in the final, crashing clarion chords) “Cinnamon Girl,” and its tale of watching love “blow away like desert sand.” That’s followed by another standout, the fiddle- and pedal steel-powered “Love In Return,” and while it would be easy to drop a reference along the lines of “Whiskeytown-esque,” knowing that Hart wrote the tune in ’92 a couple of years before Whiskeytown actually formed leaves you with the distinct feeling that a young Ryan Adams probably saw Hart performing in Raleigh clubs around that time and was taking notes.

Meanwhile, smoky midtempo ballad “Burn Love” (a showcase for Hart’s gently keening, yet urgent, vocal) and the chiming, countryish power pop of “Goodbye Anne Shore Goodbye” are Americana standouts imbued with a timelessness that makes them impossible to pin down, year-wise. And if you are wanting “timeless,” look no further than Hart’s ghostly – term used intentionally – take on the classic tune “Wayfaring Stranger,” which boasts a rich dobro salutation plus a gospellish vocal duet between Hart and guest Lynn Blakey (of Tres Chicas). GO HERE for full review. 

And this one from AltcountryNL (an online zine in the Netherlands). A rough translation here:

“For a collection of songs that came in a period of twenty years, Ghosts Of The Old North State (Bombay Records) is surprisingly coherent. Four of the fourteen songs date from 1992, the most recent in 2005. In 2011, the North Carolina-based singer-songwriter remixed the recordings where necessary. We are dealing here with the kind of rootsy janglepop where (NC) it is quite famous. Among the guests of Hart, we have fellow countrymen Lynn Blakey (Tres Chicas), Chip Robinson (The Backsliders) and Steve Potak (The Connells). With songs from such a long period of time included, it is logical to think that the list of coaches is  long (not sure of this translation, ha!). As mentioned, this is barely perceptible. Hart plays himself all sorts of guitars (including a 12-string Rickenbacker), piano and organ. On Ghosts Of The Old North State, there are fine nods to the history of rock music. Sandie Shaw is a song in the style of someone like Neal Casal. A single number such as She Will not Ever Be Happy remains perhaps too anonymous to really recall an influence. The entire album is extremely enjoyable, but the only cover, a revised version of the traditional Wayfaring Stranger, perhaps the strongest of all. This, incidentally, indeed partly the merit of Hart himself. The song starts beautifully, almost like country soul or something of Gene Clark. Available at CD Baby .”

And finally, this one in from New York via  The Big Takeover by Jack Rabid. Click image for larger view.

Big Takeover (NYC) Review of Ghosts of The Old North State

As always, you can order the CD directly from Jeff, from iTunes, Amazon MP3 (all 3 CDs there) or CD Baby.  Also, if you are in NC, you can get them from CD Alley in Durham, Schoolkids Records in Raleigh or CD Alley in Chapel Hill.

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CD now available from iTunes and CD Baby for download.

You can get it now at CD Baby http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jeffhart and at my iTunes page. And if you have time, also visit and “like” my Facebook Fan Page and Reverbnation Page.

Jeff also appeared on WUNC-FM on The State of Things with Frank Stasio. The archive of the interview and songs he played are here at this archive mp3 / podcast link. 

A couple of photos from the appearance.

and Brian Yamamoto who accompanied Jeff.

Word is getting around …

As always, you may hear the mp3 sound samples by going to the October 19th blog post (midway down) and order the CD by going to the November 22nd blog post or by clicking here.

The CD release party was a smashing success! Thanks to everyone who packed The Cave in Chapel Hill and picked up a CD. I haven’t seen that bar so crowded since Jim Watson’s annual Christmas show. Folks were afraid to put their hands in their pockets as they could not tell if it was their pocket or their neighbor’s.

Today’s news:

A couple of press notices have occurred since my last post here. The Independent has this review (click here for full review) by Chris Parker:

“Built on a base of country twang but finished with touches of British Invasion rock, ’60s garage pop, ’70s Laurel Canyon and, of course, native North Carolina bluegrass and jangle pop, Ghosts of the Old North State reveals Hart as an equally fine collector and creator.

There are too many highlights to list, like the plaintive Black Crowes-ish “I Won’t Stop At Anything,” embellished with tasteful strings and a reference to The Graduate, and the rich harmonies and jangly melody of “She Won’t Ever Be Happy.” The pretty two-minute psych-pop winner “Goodbye Anne Shore Goodbye” strikes a contrast with the aching waltz “Wayfaring Stranger.” Horns even aid “Put Out a Fire,” which could pass for a ’60s pop anthem.”

“Ghosts” also received an honorable mention in The Independent’s Top 10 Releases of 2011. A considerable accomplishment considering the CD had only been out a little over a week at the time of the listing.

Now accepting orders

Order now and you’ll get delivery the week of the CD release party, ie. by December 10, 2011.  Paypal now does not require you to sign up for Paypal to use it.

Go here to order and see the order link below the CD cover photo.

You may also order a copy (specify signed or un-signed copy) by sending a check or money order (made out to “Jeff Hart”, the $15 per cd includes postage) to:

Jeff Hart
104-A Blackwood Dr.
Carrboro, NC 27510

Ghosts of the Old North State – View Ye Living As You Pass By

Ghosts of the Old North State CD Cover - design by Brad Magner

Ghosts of the Old North State CD Cover - design by Brad Magner

UPDATE: mp3 files are midway down the page – click for a preview. 

View ye living as you pass by. As you are, so once was I. As I am, soon you will be. Prepare ye living to follow me.” – From the tombstone of George Washington Hart 1809 – 1901.

These words were related to me by a family historian when I was in elementary school and I was told that they were on my great, great, great grandfather’s tombstone. I filed them away and eventually wrote a song around it. It took me another 13 years to get it on an album. It’s one of the songs on “Ghosts of the Old North State”, my first studio CD since the 1995 “Glances From A Nervous Groom” (coincidentally, the name of my other blog).

CD Release Date: December 10, 2011 at The Cave in Chapel Hill, NC. 

The record is dedicated to Lizzie Cheek (1892 – 1919) the one NC ghost for which I have first hand knowledge (well, outside of the Brown Mountain Lights, which was the name of a former band of mine).  Edit 11/7/11:  My father became ill and passed away after the final artwork was printed. Otherwise, I would have had the dedication to him if I’d had a chance to amend this.

“Songs, ghosts and lost Lenores live amongst us, drifting in and out of our thoughts and occupying a space wherever they can find it. Over half of the multi-track masters for this album were considered lost for several years or in a state that they could not be recovered. Thanks to some detective work by Dave Tilley and restoration by FJ VentreJerry Kee and Jeff Carroll, these Ghosts of the Old North State have found their way home.

For reasons I am not even sure I understand, I lost interest in putting out albums. My first two were great fun and were extremely well received locally, nationally and across the pond. I didn’t quit writing and I continued playing new songs on stage. I still have closets of songs that are unheard and it’s easy to envision the next two CDs. But with 16 years since my last studio release, it finally felt as if “it’s time”. All of these were originally well-recorded, but over half were not part of any CD project. Bands broke up, regrouped, people & time moved on. By 2011, I decided to revisit these recordings, some with the original studio equipment and engineers. FJ Ventre & Jerry Kee recorded my piano, organ, guitar & vocal overdubs and we brought in new & old friends and together we reawakened these ghosts. The spirits of these songs have long been beckoning in quiet whispers for a new life. So it’s with long deferred gratification that I bring you Ghosts of the Old North State.”Liner notes for the CD – Full liner notes and credits here.

The title Ghosts of The Old North State was inspired by the first book I ever checked out of the Garner Elementary School library when I was in the first grade in 1969, An Illustrated Guide to Ghosts & Mysterious Occurrences in the Old North State by Nancy Roberts.

These are the songs.  Click on each to hear an mp3 sample. All are originals except for Wayfaring Stranger, which is a traditional song in the Public Domain.

1. Mr. Lonely

2. Love In Return

3. I Won’t Stop At Anything

4. Sandie Shaw

5. Burn Love

6. She Won’t Ever Be Happy

7. Put Out A Fire

8. Goodbye Anne Shore Goodbye

9. Better Days

10. All Along The Wallflower

11. Wayfaring Stranger

12. View Ye Living

13. Margarite

14. Walking Between Raindrops

CD design is by Brad Magner at Oddfellows.  CD photography by Tony Pearce, Stephen Taylor, Willa Stein and Jeff Hart. Modeling by Hathir Pfau.

A special shout out to this record’s Kickstarter supporters!

John Bare, Lisa Rose, Phillip Ayscue, Elizabeth Ayscue, Lisa Hearne, Donna Mooneyham, Sheila Hodge, Alane Shapiro, Gary Stafford, Steve Eisenstadt, Herb Campbell, Holden Richards, Steve Davis, Eve Cunning, Trey Jones, Jack Bly, Elaine Strople, Chris Riser, Amy Windham, Catharine Campbell, Virgil Melvin, Jeffrey Friedson, Allison Green, David Harrison, David Brainard, Vanessa Wade, Alison Overton, David Nelms, Mike “Moose” Smith, Nancy Bierman, Joe Barlow, Dave Tilley, Penne Sandbeck, Tony Reevy, Pat Neagle and Mike Allen. You are some wonderful and generous people. Thank you once again from the most sincere depths of my heart.

Poster with images from the last 20 years of recording, etc. – click for a larger view

Independent Weekly gig preview by Chris Parker – click for a larger viewA recent bit of press in the Independent Weekly - by Chris Parker
A recent bit of press in the Independent Weekly – by Chris Parker