Miles Maxwell's Red Ghost
The cover for Miles Maxwell’s Americana-rock album, ‘Red Ghost.’

Band: Miles Maxwell; Members: Miles Baltrusaitis: vocals and guitars; Matt Stankiewicz: drums; Dan Stankiewicz: keys; and Steve Kingwell: bass

Album: ‘Red Ghost’

Mixed by Sean O’Keefe

Contemplating the reasons why a too-brief romantic relationship has led to heartache instead of ever-lasting love is a powerful lesson for many people. They realize that they can learn from the broken connection, and build stronger bonds in the future. Singer-guitarist Miles Baltrusaitis was driven to embark on an intense songwriting journey, in an effort to share his personal experience of contending with a broken heart that was rattling his life out of control. Over a month’s time, he crafted deeply personal chapters of a complete narrative that honestly highlighted his vulnerabilities. His need to create new music about the heartbreak he endured came after he hadn’t played an original note of music for an audience in nearly a decade.

Looking for fellow musicians who he could form a new band with in order to bring his latest songs to audiences, Baltrusaitis met fellow Williams College football teammate and drummer Matt Stankiewicz through a chance encounter. The singer-songwriter not only enlisted the drummer’s help, but also the aid of his keyboardist brother, Dan. The trio agreed to name their new band Miles Maxwell, which uses Baltrusaitis’ middle name. The musicians subsequently then met bassist Steve Kingwell through a mutual friend, and the lineup was complete. The quartet is now promoting their new album, ‘Red Ghost,’ which features the nine tracks that the lead singer penned about his personal romantic experiences.

‘Red Ghost’ begins with one of its best entries, ‘Snapdragon,’ which features intriguing rock-inspired lyrics. Baltrusaitis shows his vulnerabilities about the challenges of falling in love, even though the timing isn’t right. The singer emotionally admits that the affection he had for the woman wasn’t formed easily, but he still felt determined to try to make it work. He croons that in another life they would have had the chance to see their connection grow into a new romance, but they instead just crossed, paths at the wrong time. He enthrallingly declares that he has to remind himself that the timing wasn’t right.

‘Snapdragon’ is followed by the record’s sophomore song, ‘I Can’t Be Myself,’ which is another one of Miles Maxwell’s best efforts. Driven by captivating Americana and country-infused guitar and keys, the track features the same emotional pains of contending with love as its predecessor. Baltrusaitis admits that he can’t be himself with the woman he’s involved with, and he can’t hide his true feelings about their connection.

The third tune on ‘Red Ghost’ is the country-driven ‘She Says (Whiskey Down at 4AM).’ He admits that he knows that she knows that he has romantic feelings for her. The singer is rightfully nervous about revealing his true feelings about her, as she tells him that nothing can happen between them. But he’s content that at least he knows her answer, and can even accept the fact that they can’t move forward as a couple.

‘She Says (Whiskey Down at 4AM)’ is succeeded by the Americana-country-infused entry, ‘Something New.’ Baltrusaitis chronicles how a love connection has sparked after the couple began working together. They earned respect and trust for each other by talking, and their power together grew as a result.

Another intriguing passage on ‘Red Ghost’ is its seventh track, ‘Terrible Song.’ Featuring an engrossing blend of Americana-rock vocals and guitar, the lyrics are relatable in the sense that Baltrusaitis is trying to overcome the loss of his love. The tune, which has the potential to be one of the best entries on the album to be performed live, chronicles how the singer feels terrible living his life without the woman he loves, and admits that he was a fool to let her go.

The penultimate entry on Miles Maxwell’s new record is ‘Ceiling Fan,’ which features a captivating rock guitar and gritty vocals. Baltrusaitis powerfully proclaims that his mind is in overdrive and constantly spinning, as he contemplates how his relationship went wrong, and he admits confused about how to go on. He also knows that the woman he loved is thinking the same things, but that acceptance doesn’t help him move on.

The final song on ‘Red Ghost’ is its country-infused title track, on which the singer admits that the woman he loved is now just a haunting in his head. Baltrusaitis admits that he should have known that the woman he loved knows how to disappear, as she learned to say goodbye a long time ago. He also reveals that his old life from before he met the woman he loved doesn’t look so bad right now, and he’s ready to return to the way things once were.

‘Red Ghost’s ending title track closes out an emotional heartache story that listeners can truly relate to, as Baltrusaitis tries to make sense of the unknown reasons for the end of his life-changing relationship. The singer-guitarist was driven to embark on an intense songwriting journey, in an effort to share his personal experience of contending with a broken heart that was rattling his life out of control. Miles Maxwell’s new album is the perfect culmination of a deeply personal chapters that honestly highlighted the band leader’s vulnerabilities.

For more information on Miles Maxwell, visit the band’s official website, as well as its Facebook and Twitter pages.

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By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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