The Ghost of Joseph Buck resides in Colorado, but the band’s sound takes you on a journey where Denver is a mere rest stop, a place to pause and ponder life. When describing the music of The Ghost of Joseph Buck, fans often say it’s like being on a road trip across the American West stretching from the Great Plains to the cactus-filled deserts on our Southern border. Indeed, their songs evoke old Hollywood’s Western film landscapes with Spaghetti Western trumpet, the occasional accordion, and low vocals that harken to places where “the devil's not a stranger.” Despite the band's heavy Southwestern influences, the band’s sound fuses together the essence of the places they’ve been and the place in which they reside. Being that the founding members are midwesterners who came to Colorado with a lust for adventure, the West is still a romantic idea, a place of inspiration.
The roots of The Ghost of Joseph Buck were planted in the early 2000’s when Joe Franzen (guitar) and Polly Beck (vocals and keyboard) met, quit their jobs, and traveled to South America. Within the next few years, they got married and continued to wander the world soaking in musical influences along the way. With the inspiration of having a full band, they got together with friends and bought bassist Stephanie Schooley an upright for her 30th birthday. Schooley played in a youth orchestra growing up in Austin, TX, and it didn’t take long for her to start collaborating with Beck and Franzen. In 2011, they officially became The Ghost of Joseph Buck. They immediately went into Mighty Fine Productions in Denver and cut their first self-titled EP, The Ghost of Joseph Buck. They followed that debut effort with their second EP, Scenic, in 2015. The current line up for the band includes Christine Palmer on trumpet, who brings years of professional musicianship and a Master’s Degree in Trumpet performance and Tony Corona on drums, who comes to the band with decades of percussion under his belt along with a background in music production.
Franzen writes the majority of music for the band with Beck frequently collaborating and occasionally bringing her own songs to the band’s set list. With musical backgrounds in rock, classical, folk, and classic country and strong influences from travels at home and abroad, the band’s sound has grown into the likes of a mashup of Calexico, Giant Sand, Cat Power, Ennio Morricone, and Neil Young. Although the mythos of the American West has a strong presence in many of their songs, pigeonholing the band into a specific genre is challenging. As quoted in The Denver Post’s Steal This Track, “The Ghost of Joseph Buck peppers simple yet strong music with Western motifs like a barroom piano, stand up bass, and mariachi horns but also bring along the ballsiness of rock with guitar moments that almost cross over into hard rock… All this talk about the West will likely lead you to expect something specific, but The Ghost of Joseph Buck do well avoiding outright nostalgia and cliche. The West is an inspiration, a launching point and not a handbook for the band’s music.”
The Ghost of Joseph Buck has been hiding out at the Keep Recording Studio in Denver and are set to release their first LP, Until it Ends, in the Fall of 2020. Having played festivals such as the UMS and FoCoMX, live radio shows, and having shared the stage with various bands from Liz Cooper and The Stampede to The Moondoggies, Low Cut Connie, and Bob Log III, The Ghost of Joseph Buck is looking forward to emerging from quarantine and bringing their haunting sound to listeners in live venues.