Shane Ghostkeeper
Songs For My People
Victory Pool
Calgary, AB
RIYL: Waylon Jennings; Margo Price; lounging in a smokey basement 

Before you are old enough to find music by browsing record store bins, reading blogs, through the burned CDs and playlists made by friends, or scrolling TikTok, the biggest influence on your music taste is your family. Car rides and meal times are soundtracked by the bands your parents love, the parental advisory stickers on your older siblings’ CDs dare you to listen to them, and when a cousin is aghast that “you haven’t heard [insert band name here]?!” you go listen to the band’s entire discography. 

Best known as the front person of GHOSTKEEPER, Shane Ghostkeeper grew up in the Northern Alberta Métis communities in Paddle Prairie, High Level, and Rocky Lane surrounded by country music. His debut solo record Songs For My People pays tribute to the honky-tonk tones that filled his childhood. It is, as Ghostkeeper tells the Calgary Herald, “a gift to my people [who] raised me and steeped me in country music.”

With rousing melodies that may inspire you to learn the two-step, songs like “Into the Night,” “I Know How,” and “Hunger Strike,” the latter an ode to Ghostkeeper’s grandparents, draw inspiration from country music circa the ’50s and ’60s. But Songs For My People is not a one-trick pony. The album also finds Ghostkeeper wading into cosmic country terrain, washing his songs with a psych rock haze. “Sunbeam,” “V. Chill,” and “Uncle John” are, yes, very chill sounding, and evoke the feeling of lounging in a smokey basement.

While Songs For My People is meant to be a present from Ghostkeeper to his family, it’s also a superb gift to general audiences. 

Laura Stanley