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The Ghost Song
Nothing Sings Louder than the Past
By Tom Galvin Posted in Fiction 3 min read
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The Ghost Song

by Tom Galvin

available on Amazon

Jake Green was a hardworking songwriter from an age when people listened to their music on vinyl, on cassette tapes, on the radio and played it for each other on acoustic guitars. A time when they rolled up cigarettes on gatefold album sleeves and discussed lyrics of love and loss and life late into the night. A time when people celebrated their heroes for being the only people they understood and the only people who understood them in return because they spoke to them in the same language. The language of music.

Guitar heroes. Vocal heroes. Bass heroes. Drum heroes. Heroes who corralled a generation into herds and dictated the fashion, the hair length, the spirit of the times, the mood of their days and the mood of their nights and even the mood of their dreams.

Life is a long march and the music you choose to follow provides you with the beat, the pace, the reason to keep on going until your legs give out and you can’t dance any longer. When the music is that good, you don’t even need a reason for living and you don’t even need God. Your heroes are your gods. Jake almost made it, back in those days.

That was before the tragedy. The one that involved his beloved daughter and broke him like a ballad. So he did something drastic. Vanished down a musical wormhole where time was measured in crotchets and quavers, supplanting the words of the spoken world and the written world, none of which could have adequately eased the pain the way music could.

It was down to his best buddy, Smithy, who brought him back to write and play and sing again, find that second chance. But it’s a different world now. Things have changed. Except music. And people. They don’t change that much because the march will always go on. But for Jake to make his music reach the right people he had to go and do something drastic all over again. Really drastic. But brilliant. Really, really brilliant.

Good stories are like good songs that have been mixed and sieved by producers who have their own take and their own spin. A lot depends on what version you’re listening to and how attuned your senses are to the nuances of the narrative.

When I was asked to write this story, I began by going down the traditional route – interview the subjects, do the research, get the angles and plot out the path to take you, the reader, down. But I too was a part and had a role to play in Jake’s journey as much as the people I spoke to. So I did the most honourable thing I could do and presented everyone’s voices exactly as they presented them to me.

This is a story about Jake the singer, songwriter and a loving parent. But it is also the story of thousands of Jakes and thousands of Janes, the ones you never get to hear about or the ones you get to hear about only briefly because ‘they never made it’. The music business is two worlds. There is the world of music and there is the world of business. But you don’t always have to make it in both worlds to make it. Enjoy the story.

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