Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Metal Strings” by Ghosts I’ve Met from the 2013 self-released EP The Leveling Storm.
Telling a story in the form of a song is a tradition handed down by generations of singer/songwriters. Sam Watts of Ghosts I’ve Met embraces this legacy. His yearning voice hovers over his gently strummed guitar, revealing a vulnerability that takes listeners on an intimate journey of confession and self-reflection. There’s a longing in his stories that seeks resolution. But like most great storytellers, Watts allows listeners’ imaginations to help find the conclusion. On today’s song, “Metal Strings,” Watts asks, “Everything I tell to you, I try to tell myself. If there are lies in my words, will you help me pull them out?”
Born in Michigan and currently living in Seattle, Watts formed Ghosts I’ve Met in 2005 with a cast of musical friends. However, it wasn’t until 2010 that Watts released the first EP, Payphone Patience, on Canadian folk label Yerbird. With contributions by drummer Michael Lerner (The Antlers) and Darren Jessee (Ben Folds Five) on piano, the EP marked the discovery of what Watts would later call his “rhythm as a writer.” In 2011, Yerbid released Ghosts’ full-length album, From a Spark, featuring guitarist Bill Patton (Fleet Foxes, J. Tillman) and Jenna Conrad (Damien Jurado). The Light Opera EP followed in 2012.
Today’s song, “Metal Strings,” comes from 2013’s The Leveling Storm, an EP of pastoral songs revealing the vulnerability left behind by turbulence. Here Watts is joined by vocalist Sharon Van Etten, who tugs on Watts’ tender words. Her hushed harmonies melt into Watts’ wistful melody adding poignancy to his lyrics.
Ghosts I’ve Met recently played live on KEXP’s Audioasis, and are currently planning an April West Coast tour with dates being announced by the band soon. Keep up with Ghosts I’ve Met on their Facebook page. In the meantime, here’s the new video for today’s featured song: