You may have crossed paths with him on the street, or been in line with him at the grocery store. He has a beard, he’s in his 50s, and he’s the man behind the invisible artist Ghostly Beard, a visionary artistic entity with a boundlessly creative sweep that encompasses soft rock, jazz, prog-rock, fusion, pop, classic rock, and more.
The story goes that Ghostly Beard is a virtuoso singer, songwriter, producer, and multi instrumentalist who recently came out of a 15-year musical retirement. Since emerging virally in 2013, he has written an eclectic body of music more than 40-songs strong.
The man behind the music is Patrick Talbot. Talbot grew up a hotshot guitarist with an effortless command of the instrument and fluidity in a variety of genres. Domestic responsibilities, and the demands of making a living, sidelined him. However, a series of events—both painful and liberating—have enabled him to reunite with his true love for a second chance.
“Returning to music was hard at first because I was frustrated with my loss of technique,” shares the Montreal, Canada-based artist. “But when I re-discovered the pleasure of songwriting, I found myself mining an emotional depth I hadn’t reached before.”
Talbot will release his oeuvre in the coming months through a series of EPs and albums. Each collection will be thoughtfully sequenced by mood, genre, and aesthetic for an eclectic array of cohesively collected works. His kaleidoscopic creativity has garnered him comparisons to a bevy of artists, a select cross section of which includes Steely Dan, Pink Floyd, James Taylor, Genesis, XTC, Cat Stevens, Weather Report, Michael Franks and Chicago. Within this intrepidly artistic and wildly eclectic blend, Ghostly Beard creates a majestic signature sonic environment that’s sweetly melancholic, blurring the line between dark catharsis and subtle rays of hope.
Talbot prefers the anonymity of the Ghostly Beard moniker because it affords him a music-first platform in line with his artistic ethos: “I like to be in the shadows and just focus on the work,” he reveals. In keeping with these ideals he eschews live performances.
Ghostly Beard’s music offers an immersive emotionality that can appear enigmatic. Beneath its dreaminess are themes of absence, yearning for the past, regret and hope. Also penetrating what could seem like Ghostly Beard’s icy veneer of anonymity is the love for his daughter. “Something changed for me when I became a father. Even if I am something of a loner in this world, she is there to ground me,” Talbot shares.
Select highlights on his upcoming EP, Infinite, include “Close Your Eyes,” “Frozen in Time,” and “No Return.” This five-track release opens with wistful folk on “Close Your Eyes” which soon morphs into a multi-textured, hauntingly beautiful epic brimming with longing and exquisite melodies, and a positively David Gilmour-esque teardrop guitar solo. The ethereal “Frozen in Time” is delicately majestic with airy vocals, subtle chops-y melodic flourishes, and space themed existential lyrics. The detached ambient elegance of “No Return” offers listeners a chance to vibe out and set out on an inward journey.
A sneak peek at Ghostly Beard’s second and third album installments include the stunning tracks “Blue” and “The Love in Your Eyes.” The impressionistic jazz waltz, “Blue,” snapshots the woozy love that lives within a parent. “It’s one of the most lyric-centered songs I’ve ever written,” Talbot says. “I wanted the song to convey how I feel when I think about my little girl.” The sweetly sophisticated “The Love in Your Eyes” conjures a comfy pop-rock vibe reminiscent of modern Brit-pop. Belying the song’s uplifting lilting quality, however, is a lyric of regret in the light of a loved one’s passing.
Talbot is no longer haunted by what could have been had he pursued music earlier. Ghostly Beard has been a deeply satisfying outlet for his bottled feelings and creativity. “I feel like I finally get to live a dream I had since I was a teenager,” he says conclusively.