On Tuesday, ahead of Ghosts of the Forest‘s performance at Albany, NY’s Palace Theatre, Trey Anastasio took some time out of his afternoon to chat with SiriusXM JamOn host Ari Fink. Along with giving some insights on the recently debuted project, Trey also premiered two new tracks, “Halfway Home” and “A Life Behind The Dream”, off of Ghosts of the Forest’s forthcoming album.
Ari firsts asked Trey how fans should be perceiving the new project, in terms of a live show concept. Trey responded,
It’s a concert with a narrative arc. There’s an underlying story within the sequence of songs, and within the lyrics of the songs. So, that probably makes it a little bit different from things that I’ve done before.
Trey went on to reflect about his late friend Chris Cottrell, the inspiration behind Ghosts of the Forest’s inception, explaining,
Chris was my soul brother. He was one of the last people I was really close with that didn’t work with me in some way. So, it kind of felt like more than a loss of an individual friend—it felt like the loss of a tether or two to a different era. I went in and visited Ray Paczkowski in the hospital around the same time that Chris passed away, and it was an intense time.
We did Chris’ memorial service and his daughters were there with me, and then a week or two later I went and recorded the (Ghosts of the Forest) album. It’s raw, you know what I mean? It was still too early to—it wasn’t finished yet, the picture still wasn’t finished yet. And then I started writing more songs because I wanted to address the other side of the coin, which is more of an acceptance and bigger picture outlook on where we fit in this grand scheme, or something like that (laughs).
Trey then dove into the end results, explaining,
What ended up happening is I wrote 11 more songs, and then it all started to form into the shape of a show that had a narrative arc, and a lot of the narrative arc is like a swinging pendulum bouncing back and forth between grief and hope. It was a bumpy ride in trying to grapple with some of these questions. That’s sort of what the show ends up being.
Surprisingly, Trey also elaborated on a special live recording plan for Ghosts of the Forest’s New York City shows. He explains,
This has been in place all along, but, the idea was to take the two nights and record the shows as a live album at the United Palace Theatre. It will almost be like a regular recording session, with two passes at the shows. For example, when Aretha Franklin was famously recording a record she would do two passes and that was it. Everyone had to play live. So for us, this is like we get two takes at the United Palace Theatre, but most importantly, the full picture of the Ghosts of the Forest document will have our community members and family in the audience. The recording will end up being a live album.
Trey also discussed the longevity of the new Ghosts of the Forest material and compared Ghosts of the Forest to his one-off 8 Foot Fluorescent Tubes show in Vermont in 1998. He explained,
This is finite. I’m so hugely grateful for the community of friends, family, and audience coming out and supporting us. This is what it is. I have five more shows of this and then I’ll be on Phish tour. It’ll be in the rearview mirror so fast. The last time I did something like this was when Higher Ground opened in Burlington, and my brother-in-law asked if I would play the opening weekend, to which I responded, ‘only if I can start an entirely new band’. That show, I debuted ‘Sand’ and ‘First Tube’ and all these years later those songs are still being played. Probably one or two or some will make it.
Ghosts of the Forest tour continues tonight, Tuesday, April 9th, at Albany, NY’s Palace Theatre. For a list of Ghosts of the Forest’s upcoming tour dates, see below. For more information, head here.
Trey Anastasio’s Ghosts of the Forest Tour Dates:
9 – Albany, NY – Palace Theatre
10 – Boston, MA – Orpheum
12 – New York, NY – United Palace Theatre
13 – New York, NY – United Palace Theatre
19 – Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theatre
20 – Berkeley, CA – Greek Theatre at UC Berkeley