Ghost Train Live May 27, 2016

By Lady K.
July 2016

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Sooooooooo, in the fall of 2014, the Lobster in the Rough (aka ‘The Rough’, to locals) closed and was put up for sale. After a long 18 months, Sean Mitchell and Brian Sleeper finalized their deal to purchase the property, and on May 27, 2016, welcomed locals and tourists to the grand reopening.

The Rough is an outdoor venue, surrounded by towering pine trees. It includes a nice bar with tables and chairs – with the bar and some seating under the roof - and mosquito buzzers and heaters (we ARE in Maine), and a covered stage within reasonable visual and audio range to the bar. There are courts for bocce, horseshoes, and cornhole; picnic tables scattered around the property; FOOD (lobster, lobster rolls, fried clams, fish and chips, sandwiches, burgers (a full grill is available) and more. The Rough is a cool place to drink, dine, play games, chat with neighbors and newbies, and listen to bands on weekends.

The band on May 27 was called Ghost Train, and nearly every patron at The Rough that night had never heard of Ghost Train. In 2011 a band called ThrowDown appeared at The Rough and stunned the crowd. They eventually became really well-known in York, appearing frequently for five years at another venue (indoors, so they couldn’t be cancelled because of thunderstorms, which is one of the drawbacks at The Rough).

In 2015, ThrowDown broke up, and several members formed Ghost Train. Band members include Stan C (lead guitar- shredder, writer); John Peresada (bass); Skip Fischer (drums); Mike Benedict (keyboard); and vocalist Wayne Miller. Lady K knew ThrowDown and had heard several cuts from the CD that Ghost Train is working on now, so she knew the same high quality of rocking blues was very much there in Ghost Train. Great to hear them live.

Ghost Train pushes even rock-ier blues, with a little soul added in (they opened with really yummy version James Brown’s “Cold Sweat”.) They added more soul a little later in the show with Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”, and the Temptations’ “Standing on Shaky Ground.” Soul is a truly great way to meet Wayne Miller because soul shows what a vocalist has got. They stuck with covers for a while, giving people a chance to hear what they could do with familiar tunes such as BB King’s “Woman What You Do To Me”; “Just Got Paid” by ZZ Top; and Jeff Beck’s “Going Down”.

To encourage some audience participation, the band included a sing-along to get the crowd activated; no cue cards were necessary to help with lyrics. The Doors’ “Road House Blues” gave everyone a chance to announce that they ‘woke up this mornin’ and I got myself a beer’ - several times. And then Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Pride and Joy” got the mood soaring higher.

Hendrix was not forgotten, with a totally crowd-pleasing version of “Voodoo Chile”. Albert King’s “Born Under a Bad Sign” was unforgettable. (Many decades ago, it was Albert King and Jimi Hendrix who solidified Lady K’s absolute need for lots of ‘modern’ rockin’ blues.)

Stan C and Lady K share a love of Gary Moore’s style of blues, so she knew she wouldn’t have to wait long to hear a Moore tune. “Those Midnight Blues” totally satisfied that she could rely on Ghost Train to keep Moore’s memory alive. And later in the evening they added a mind-blowing “Gonna Be a Jailbreak” (another from Gary Moore, during his Thin Lizzy days). Thanks guys!

One special event during the show was a duet from the new guys, Wayne and Mike, on the Allman Brothers’ “Soulshine” – truly different and very impressive.

Ghost Train did a few of ThrowDown’s tunes from the ‘old days’: “Walkin’ Shoes”, and “Fallen” (which provided a nice duet between Stan’s guitar and Wayne’s vocals) and proved that well-loved tunes could be completely different when Mike’s keyboard prowess was added to the mix.

Ghost Train’s new, as yet unreleased CD includes new tracks, written by Stan: “Willing to Sacrifice,” “Raven,” and “Cannot Love You More” were debuted, and warmly received. All three are great tunes and will help the new CD get plenty of play-time when it’s released.

So, May 27th was a memorable night. The Rough is back, and Ghost Train was introduced to Southern Maine. Lady K has heard through the grapevine that Ghost Train is already booked at The Rough for 3 more shows this season. Be there or be lonely.

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