There is an enigmatic bigfoot-like character that just came out of the woods after 15 years of being lost. He goes by the handle Ghostly Beard, and he’s a visionary artistic entity with a boundlessly creative sweep that encompasses soft rock, jazz, prog-rock, fusion, pop, classic rock, and more.
Ghostly Beard’s kaleidoscopic creativity has garnered him comparisons to such diverse artists as Steely Dan, Pink Floyd, James Taylor, Genesis, XTC, and Cat Stevens. He crafts immersive dreamy sonic landscapes that emotionally blur the line between dark catharsis and subtle rays of hope. Now, he lets us into his universe with an eclectic clutch of thoughtfully sequenced albums.
He just recently returned from a fifteen year musical hiatus with a brand new EP entitled Infinite which was released on 7/14/17. It’s hard to believe that he’s been out of the music scene for fifteen years, especially given how strong this EP is both musically and lyrically. The dreamy musical landscapes that he paints are quite beautiful and dynamic. You can hear elements of such classic rock artists as Steely Dan and Pink Floyd in his compositions on this EP, all the while carving out his own unique and intriguing path.
How did the Ghostly Beard persona originate?
Ghostly Beard: I couldn’t use my real name (Patrick Talbot) since the .com domain was taken and it was also taken on most social media. So, I started looking for a fun artist name, that would convey the idea that I am invisible (as most indie artists are in the music business, really), and then at one point I was hesitating between a few that involved animals. There was “chatty frog”, “eerie cat”, “haunted bear”, “rare owl”, “shrouded cat” (I had all sorts of cool logos for these as well!). I thought it could be cool to represent the many genres of music I do; they could all have been under a “humble zoo” label, but it would have been quite a challenge to impersonate all these entities. So in the end, I decided against it. I really liked “ghostly bear” but this was taken as well. “Ghostly beard” was not, and I do actually have a beard, so there you go! I also found this awesome icon, which is a beard, but also a ghost or a mask or anything you like, and I licensed it immediately. I think one day, it might look really cool on t-shirts!
Was there a catalyst that triggered coming out of musical retirement after 15 years?
Well, it was always in the back of my mind, but there have been all sorts of life issues that have left me without time or energy to do so for that long. When I finally got time enough, especially because my own software consulting company was doing well, my daughter was big enough. I had separated from my wife and I thought it was high time to get back to it! I bought some good gear to build myself a studio, and then of course I spent a lot of time learning audio engineering properly. In the last four to five years, I have accumulated a big catalog of material that I intend to release gradually, along with new material of course! My next album is coming October 20th and I think it will surprise people because it will be very different and very diverse.
After being out of the public eye and ear for so long, what was the reception like for the new EP?
I was amazed by the reception actually. My music is not especially mainstream, and it’s not really the most modern either, so I didn’t know if I would be able to reach an audience. I’ve had many outstanding reviews and lots of airplay and people telling me that they really love it, so it’s been really rewarding. I can’t wait to see how people will react to that next album.
If you could bring back one artist to record/perform with, who would it be?
So many people really; I think of Walter Becker who just recently passed away, or people like John Lennon, Miles Davis, Michael Brecker, Frank Zappa. It’s hard to pick just one, but I suppose Frank would be the one I would be the most excited (and probably a bit frightened) to work with. This guy was truly a genius and a driven musical force like no other. My music is obviously very different and I wouldn’t pretend to compare, but I’m opened to many music influences. He was so eclectic, so he’s a big inspiration for me.
Do you have a favorite cartoon and cereal?
I hate cereals, but I was always a big fan of Tex Avery.
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