These Ghosts Have Bones

These Ghosts Have Bones

by Miles Zuniga


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Fastball were hardly the best of the one-hit wonder alt-rock acts to skitter across the radar in the 1990s, but they were inarguably better than most of their peers; that said, what is anyone supposed to expect from the first solo album from Fastball's guitarist? Probably not quite what they get from Miles Zuniga's These Ghosts Have Bones, a collection of 11 Beatlesque pop tunes that chronicle a relationship that's clearly crashed and burned. The liner notes describe These Ghosts Have Bones as "a record/therapy session by Miles Zuniga", and it was written and recorded in the wake of a messy divorce; while the material is tuneful and lively enough that this doesn't sound like a weepy meditation on lost love, the lyrical focus of these songs is pretty hard to avoid, and if Zuniga isn't crying, he has good reason not to sound happy as he senses his spouse's infidelity on "Feel It in Your Kiss," tries to decide what to do with himself on "Elizabeth," and struggles to fool himself and others on "You Can't Break My Heart." While Tony Scalzo sang the bulk of Fastball's hits, Zuniga's voice has an agreeable regular-guy tone (with the slightest vocal resemblance to John Lennon) that suits the theme and approach of this album very well, and he's got an impressive way with a melody, giving these tunes a buoyant and intelligent pop sound that softens the blow of the more cynical material. Bassist Bruce Hughes and drummer John Chipman fill out the songs with admirable color and restraint, and Zuniga's production is crisp and effective, aided by the warm, clean tone of Bob Clearmountain's mix. Zuniga is hardly the first musician to wrench an album's worth of material from a broken heart, but These Ghosts Have Bones manages to sound entirely honest about the hurt brought on by a busted marriage while coupling his lyrics to killer pop melodies, and the mingled joy and sadness of this album only makes the emotional impact on both sides more effective. These Ghosts Have Bones is a splendid solo debut for Zuniga, though hopefully he won't have to go through another divorce in order to come up with a suitable follow up.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/27/2011
Label: 33 1/3 Records
UPC: 0634457546523
catalogNumber: 1
Rank: 146832

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Miles Zuniga   Primary Artist,Bass,Guitar,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals,Moog Bass
Bruce Hughes   Bass,Background Vocals,Human Whistle
Kevin McKinney   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals
Rick Richards   Drums
Jeff Plankenhorn   Slide Guitar
Conrad Choucroun   Drums
Brian Beken   Fiddle,Mandolin
John Chipman   Drums
Kat Edmonson   Vocals
Justin Sherburn   Piano,Keyboards

Technical Credits

Peter Smith   Composer
Miles Zuniga   Composer,Producer
Lars Göransson   Engineer
Adam Levy   Composer
Michael Crow   Engineer
Paul Fucik   Layout
Oreste Gargaro   Composer
Brendan Rogers   Executive Producer
Bob Mackey   Executive Producer
Jose Salinas   Executive Producer
Karl Hébert   Layout

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These Ghosts Have Bones 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
natbot More than 1 year ago
It's tough to sound ballsy on a topic as emasculating as a break-up, especially from a first-hand point of view. Miles Zuniga broaches the well-covered subject with more raw emotion than venom on his first full-length solo project, These Ghosts Have Bones, an 11-track CD, digital download and vinyl record (!) released Sept. 27, 2011. Zuniga provides an unfiltered look into his broken heart on These Ghosts Have Bones; the album's title stemming from lyrics on masterful opening track "Marfa Moonlight" ("I wake up all alone/These ghosts have bones"). "Wicked" punches a soulful jab ("She's wicked/Wicked and cruel/Oh, she'll make a fool of you") and "Working on a Love Song" tells the true-to-life story of Zuniga writing a tune on the road only to return home "Just to find that you were gone." Most heartbreaking is the Adam Levy co-penned "Now She's Just a Shadow," written after the passing of Levy's wife: "Happy times, well now they're through/Don't you be afraid to step into the light." From the pained "Feel It in Your Kiss," on which he pleads, "You should leave me if you want to be free/But baby please don't tell lies to me," to the wounded "Elizabeth," featuring the lyrics "Right now I don't really care/To ever see your face again," Zuniga taps into the feelings we've all felt on both sides of relationship failures. This isn't uncommon ground for the veteran frontman, whose recording history dates back to 1991 (Big Car) and whose canon of songs includes epistles such as Fastball's "This Is Not My Life" ("You took away my world/You took away my smile/You took away my life/You took away my reason to live") & "Our Misunderstanding" ("Has turned into a war"); as well as The Small Stars' "Girl Trouble" ("When you put away all the plans you made/And you drink every night to forget her") & "Love Is Grand" (Love will break your heart/Love will make it rain/Love is/A pain in the ass"). Perhaps most noteworthy about These Ghosts Have Bones is Zuniga's well-chosen "supporting cast" in addition to providing his own superb vocals, guitars, piano, keyboards, bass and moog bass. TGHB features fine performances from no fewer than 9 fellow musicians and 3 co-writers, drawing heavily from the native Texan's collaboration with Austin-based band The Resentments (Bruce Hughes & John Chipman artfully back up every track). Zuniga also blends beautifully with the flawless Brian Beken on "Working on a Love Song" (mandolin) & "Junkie Hands" (fiddle); and enigmatic jazz singer Kat Edmonson on "The Weatherman." Mixed by the legendary Bob Clearmountain, TGHB is a well-crafted and well-orchestrated "record/therapy session." Zuniga also used a team concept to bankroll his project through online fundraising site Kickstarter, bringing in $27,355 from 153 financial backers. In return for their investments, donors received a variety of rewards including demos from Zuniga's song-writing past. These "bonus" discs provide a glimpse into the gut-wrenching process through which TGHB developed. Although one of his best compositions, "Hopelessly Blue," didn't make the final cut, Zuniga ends the album with "You Can't Break My Heart" and gives the listener hope for an equally ear-pleasing follow-up to this impressive solo debut.