Andy Black just released his new album ‘The Ghost of Ohio’ on April 12th through Republic Records. The album is semi-autobiographical, mining the haunted history of his hometown to tell a story that explores his childhood anxieties and obsessions. Produced by Grammy winner John Feldmann, who has worked with the likes of Panic! at the Disco and blink-182, it is a diverse album that also serves as the soundtrack for its graphic novel counterpart.
With a dream, Andy Black (born Andy Biersack) left his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio for Hollywood, California at the young age of eighteen. He lived in his car and was broke, but he never gave up on the rock band he had dreamed of since he was a kid. By his early twenties, he was leading Black Veil Brides on world tours and had released a string of Billboard Top 10 and Top 20 albums. Stretching his creative wings even further, he released his album ‘The Shadow Side’. This was his debut release as Andy Black. He considers ‘The Ghost of Ohio’ the next step, saying “It’s a full embrace of my long-held passion for imagination, stretching back to when I discovered my dad’s KISS trading cards in the basement and walked my neighborhood streets dressed up like Batman.”
‘The Ghost of Ohio’ marries melancholy themes with upbeat rock and pop to tell the tale of someone who died young and whose spirit inhabits an area for a hundred years looking for ways to connect. The tone is set for the rest of the album by “Introduction: Resurrection”. This first song is haunting and fittingly begins the story to be told. “The Promise” is reflective with a personal flare. The lyrics mention “driving down the Highway 75” and “50 West” giving a nod to the roads Andy Black used to drive in the Cincinnati area while dreaming of leaving his hometown to create music. The piano in this song is beautiful and works so well paired with the emotionally-charged velvet vocals. The dance-worthy pop-driven “Westwood Road” is energetic, but it also feels like mental tug-of-war when listening to the lyrics. Also dance-worthy, “Know One” has a very synthpop feeling. It tells the personal and relatable story of learning not to care what others think with lyrics like “I can’t change the way they look at me”.
The standout song “Soul Like Me” is orchestral and anthemic. The song is catchy and will have listeners singing along. So many people will be able to relate to the lines “lately everywhere I go I been feeling like a ghost inside” and “am I dead or alive, is anyone by my side”. Being upbeat and bright, “The Wind & Spark” will have listeners clapping along to the beat at a show. With lyrics like “I don’t feel so empty anymore”, this song is like the sun shining through the clouds after an Ohio thunderstorm. Putting the spotlight on the state where he grew up, “Ghost of Ohio” highlights Andy Black’s vocals and lyricism. The song is catchy with a pop sound and electronic vibe. It is personal, reflective, and will have listeners feeling like they have been given a look into his childhood. “Heroes We Were” brings a lighter mood to the album. The word that comes to mind to describe it is golden. With the line “we are the kings of our dreams”, there is a hopefulness to it that is welcomed. In contrast, “Feast or Famine” comes in with a powerful heavy electronic pop beat. Stating “thunder in the blue skies, lightning in the daylight” and “my bones are all that’s left of me”, the song is bold and direct.
Bringing a love letter to the album, “Heaven” is a touchingly sweet song. It is heartwarming and shows an unapologetically emotional side that had yet to be seen. The piano in the song is perfectly placed, especially at the end where it gives it an extra touch of shining beauty. “The Martyr” blends a gothic rock tone and synthpop beats. With lyrics like “save yourself, it’s all you have”, this song directs listeners to remember to save themselves. The album ends on a high note with “Fire In My Mind”. The song features velvet vocals, an acoustic guitar, and a drum cadence in the background. It is hopeful with lines like “the world’s on fire in my mind, one day I will be free, one day they will hear me”. While it is ending the album, it feels like a new beginning has risen from the ashes.
Andy Black has created a masterpiece with this album. It brings a glimpse into his childhood and his personal thoughts that is refreshing and authentic. Every song can stand on its own and yet still has a purposeful place in the story. Haunting and emotional, it is an extremely creative work of art. The vocals are highlighted and shine like diamonds. The electronic pop vibe and rock tones blend perfectly to compliment the poetic lyricism. Easily one of the best albums of the year so far, ‘The Ghost of Ohio’ tells a ghostly tale while being introspective, reflective, and relatable.
The Ghost of North America Tour 2019 dates:
4/07 – Sacramento, CA – Ace Of Spades
4/09 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon
4/10 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre
4/12 – Las Vegas, NV – Vinyl
4/13 – Los Angeles, CA – El Rey
4/14 – Phoenix, AZ – The Nile Theatre
4/16 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot
4/17 – Denver, CO – The Gothic Theatre
4/19 – Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey
4/20 – San Antonio, TX – The Rock Box
4/22 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
4/23 – Orlando, FL – The Plaza Live
4/25 – Cincinnati, OH – Bogart’s
4/26 – Greensboro, NC – The Blind Tiger
4/29 – Pittsburgh, PA – Mr. Smalls Theatre
4/30 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
5/01 – New York, NY – The Gramercy Theatre
5/03 – Worcester, MA – The Palladium
5/04 – Asbury Park, NJ – Asbury Lanes
5/06 – Grand Rapids, MI – Elevation
5/07 – Chicago, IL – Metro
5/08 – Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater
5/10 – Cleveland, OH – Phantasy Nightclub
5/11 – Detroit, MI – The Majestic Theatre
5/13 – Toronto, ON – The Opera House
5/15 – Montreal, QC – L’Astral
5/16 – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts
5/17 – Virginia Beach, VA – Elevation 27