Opening for The White Buffalo on January 13 at the Fonda Theater was the indie/alternative act Roadkill Ghost Choir. They announced a couple of times from the stage that they were from Athens, Georgia, although they are actually from DeLand, Florida — an illusion shattered that they are not in fact native sons of the birthplace of REM –but this too shall pass. The band has been compared to Radiohead and Tom Petty. Andrew Shepard, the lead singer and songwriter, who has a reedy and nasally voice, sounds a lot in line with Bob Dylan.
Based on this show, it was next to impossible to know what their songs were about. Musically, the band was very solid and they are good musicians. Thankfully, the arrangements were varied enough for a listener to determine when one song ended and another was about to begin. Clearly in awe of playing before a big crowd (Why? I’m not sure), Andrew Shepard seemed overwhelmed and overcome with emotion, thanking the audience for coming early to check out the band. He then made an offhand comment about sucking and not being that good concerning what the crowd thought about the band. It was confusing and weird to hear. Are they really that tentative and insecure about themselves as a band? Was it meant to be a joke? Self-depreciating humor? Afterall, their band name is Roadkill Ghost Choir.
The facts are they have a strong music career going. They have toured with Band Of Horses, were featured at Austin City Limits, New York’s Governor’s Ball and Shaky Knees. Roadkill Ghost Choir has also performed at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Electric Forest and SXSW. They have released three albums: “In Tongues,” “False Youth Etcetera” and “Quiet Light.” If they played any of the songs from those albums, it is really hard to say and one can only venture a guess. One thing is certain though — Andrew Shepard, Stephen Garza, Zach Shepard, Maxx Shepard and Kiffy Myers, those that make up the nucleus that is Roadkill Ghost Choir, are good musicians.