Trey Anastasio Releases ‘Ghosts Of The Forest’ Studio Album
Trey Anastasio issued his Ghosts Of The Forest studio album today on all major streaming services via Rubber Jungle Records. The guitarist recorded the bulk of the nine-track LP with Phish drummer Jon Fishman and Trey Anastasio Band bassist Tony Markellis over a three-day period in 2018 at The Barn in Vermont’s Green Mountains.
Anastasio, Markellis and Fishman entered The Barn to record the album during a turbulent period in Trey’s life that followed the passing of his childhood friend Chris “CCott” Cottrell and TAB keyboardist Ray Paczkowski‘s surgery to remove a brain tumor. Trey produced the album and tapped Vance Powell to mix and engineer the LP. At one point, Powell went outside of The Barn with a recording rig and taped 45 minutes of ambient sound from the Vermont hillside. Vance and Trey layered elements of those sounds within Ghosts Of The Forest.
“I went through a period of deep self-doubt after recording it,” Trey told Rolling Stone. “I didn’t want to put it out. Maybe I was scared.” The New Jersey native did decide to release Ghosts Of The Forest yet waited until the tail end of a tour that features Anastasio, Markellis, Fishman, Paczkowski and vocalists Jennifer Hartswick and Celisse performing the nine tracks from the LP as well as 11 additional songs Trey wrote.
“I started writing more songs because I wanted to address the other side of the coin, which is more of the acceptance and a bigger picture outlook on where we fit in this grand scheme,” Anastasio explained to SiriusXM’s Ari Fink. “So what ended up happening is I ended up writing 11 more songs and then it all started to form into the shape of a show that had a narrative arc. And a lot of the narrative arc is like a swinging pendulum back and forth between grief and hope. It’s like a bumpy ride in trying to grapple with some of these questions is what [the Ghosts Of The Forest] show ends up being.”
The 54-year-old guitarist called the Ghosts Of The Forest album “some kind of mid-life crisis on a record” in his discussion with Rolling Stone’s Patrick Doyle. He took some of the experiences he had during CCott’s final days as well as the 2009 passing of his sister Kristy and turned them into music. The lyric “I lit your cigarette” from the song “In Long Lines” details an experience he had with Cottrell just before he died. “One of the funny things about Chris is he was kind of a mountain man, and he smoked. He smoked right up until he died,” Anastasio told Doyle. “I kind of loved it, in a weird way. But one of the last things he did was go out on the porch and smoke a cigarette. And that was the kind of guy he was. That’s in the song, if you listen, you know: ‘I lit your cigarette.’ I don’t recommend it for everyone who has cancer.”
Anastasio also took inspiration from CCott when it came to his approach to recording Ghosts Of The Forest. “He liked it when I ripped it on the guitar. Period. End of sentence,” Trey noted to Rolling Stone. “So when I made this record after he died I just said that to Fish and Tony, ‘I’m just going to play a lot of guitar.’ There’s no overdub crap for most of it. It’s real.” Listen to Ghosts Of The Forest via a YouTube playlist, Spotify and Apple Music:
Ghosts Of The Forest Tracklist
- Ghosts Of The Forest
- Drift While You’re Sleeping
- About To Run
- Halfway Home
- In Long Lines
- Ruby Waves
- Brief Time
- Beneath A Sea Of Stars