Sweet Ghosts is the project of Tucson singer-songwriter Ryan Alfred and vocalist Katherine Byrnes whose unique songs wowed the Arizona Senior Academy audience at their performance here last year. At once familiar and mysterious, their music is rooted in folk and country traditions, while using a colorful instrumental palette where acoustic folk instruments blend with orchestral instruments and subtle synthesizers. Their spot on and unusual vocal harmonies enhance the storytelling of their songs.
Returning to the ASA on Tuesday (Jan. 31) for an 11:30 a.m. show, Ryan and Katherine will be joined by bandmate and well-known Tucson violinist Ben Nisbet, whose regular performances with popular and jazz groups, playing violin and guitar, may surprise those who know him only as a member of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and Kingfisher String Quartet.
Ryan Alfred spent five years playing upright bass and singing harmonies in the celebrated Tucson band Calexico, and currently tours with Telluride Bluegrass Festival winners Run Boy Run, and plays occasional gigs with Ronstadt Generations.
Katherine Byrnes has traveled to China as the lead singer of the University of Arizona Big Band, and spent time as a background singer for Americana star Amos Lee. She appeared with jazz pianist-arranger Jeff Haskell at the Arizona Senior Academy last summer, performing duets from the Great American Songbook in preparation for their forthcoming album.
Sweet Ghosts’ debut album, “Certain Truths,” was mixed by Ryan and recorded at Wavelab Studios in Tucson. Their new album is slated for release in mid-2017.
Written by Leslie Nitzberg, Academy Village Volunteer