Acoustic singer-songwriter Troy Rayner, also known as Gentleman Ghost, released his second EP, Demo*lition Day, on Nov. 7, three years after the release of his first EP, Fin. Rayner’s lyrical honesty pulls at the heart strings and the EP is a fantastic resumé of Rayner’s talent and his variety of styles within the folk genre.
The album starts with “The Kidney Song,” in which Rayner recites an exhaustive list of injuries to both body and spirit, including getting beat up in a back lane and having no idea as to the size of his ego. The density of the sheer number of lyrics makes it difficult to appreciate all the subtleties and humour in the song, which serve to keep the song light through its headfirst dive into Rayner’s diary of faults and insecurities to which he sings “all of this makes me.”
The second song, “Ghost,” speaks to the ghost of a deceased person whom he loved dearly and who loved him in return. Moments of emotion can be heard in the song with quivering breaths and powerful and haunting notes. The lyrics are heartbreaking and soulful.
Across the four-song EP there is consistent skill in both vocals and guitar. This small EP makes you feel like you are being shorted and ends entirely too soon. Rayner is not nearly as popular in Winnipeg as he should be with the talent displayed on the album, having only 134 likes on his Facebook page. Rayner is definitely one to look out for in the folk scene in Winnipeg and it is worth checking out a live show based solely on the quality of these four tracks.
The recording and producing of the album is much better than some other examples of acoustic albums because it really is the perfect combination of raw and clear, with a great mix of a man and his guitar. This album should be on the shelf of any local folk lover.