Ghosts of the American Road

Biography

 

Blurb (less than 120 words):

People across America are saying this emerging duo’s performances leave them feeling as if they’ve “just read a great novel.”

From a one-bedroom farmhouse in the middle of 180 acres in Texas, Ghosts of the American Road is the latest brainchild from acclaimed songwriter Kevin Higgins and his talented musical partner, Barbara Malteze. Performing coast-to-coast, this duo has logged over 380,000 miles and collected seven Texas Music Awards along the way. Inspired by Higgins’ cinematographic compositions, Ghosts of the American Road create beautiful music. Defying comparisons, one thing’s for certain…no other artists come close to sounding like them. This is “American Music” where all styles come together at a distinctly original musical crossroads.

Blurb (less than 170 words):

People across America are saying this emerging duo’s performances leave them feeling as if they’ve “just read a great novel.”  And, it’s no wonder. Kevin Higgins is a published poet from West Texas, trapped in the body of a working-class dreamer. “Higgins ascends to the pantheon of eloquent and evocative American singer-songwriters with that rare gift for articulating the fullness of human experience within splendid and alluring melodies,” wrote Austin veteran music journalist Rob Patterson. Hearing Barbara Malteze deliver a song is tantamount to a religious experience. From the rough-and-tumble rock clubs of Boston and L.A.; to the once-famous Palomino club in Hollywood, there remains a mystery as to how one so demure and unassuming could be given a voice as big as all outdoors. Together, they are Ghosts of the American Road; weaving individual vocal styles over guitar and piano, embellishing melodic poetry that has become their cinematographic, signature sound. This is “American Music”, where all styles come together at a distinctly original musical crossroads.

 

Short Bio ~ Full Length Bio ~ Mission Statement 

 

Short Bio (less than 250 words):

Kevin Higgins is a friendly voice of reason trapped in the body of a working-class dreamer. Synonymous with melody and imagery, this published poet seldom strays from humble working-class West Texas roots. “Higgins ascends to the pantheon of eloquent and evocative American singer-songwriters with that rare gift for articulating the fullness of human experience within splendid and alluring melodies,” wrote Austin veteran music journalist Rob Patterson. 

Hearing Barbara Malteze deliver a song is tantamount to a religious experience. From the rough-and-tumble rock clubs of Boston and L.A.; to the once-famous Palomino club in Hollywood, there remains a mystery as to how one so demure and unassuming could be given a voice as big as all outdoors. “It’s because”, someone very close to her once said, “Barbara loves from a place much deeper than most of us are willing to go. She is the essence of art imitating life.”

Together, they are Ghosts of the American Road ; weaving individual vocal styles over guitar and piano, embellishing melodic poetry that has become their cinematographic, signature sound. This is “American Music”, where all styles come together at a distinctly original musical crossroads.

 

 

Full-length Bio (less than 800 words):

“You two are like the coolest ’70’s band we never heard of!” gushed a fan after one of Ghosts of the American Road’s many performances. “And, your CD is like a ‘concept album.’  Each song stands on its own, but when you listen from beginning to end, you’re taken on an emotional trip!”

“Well, then, I guess we’ve accomplished what we’ve set out to do,” said Kevin Higgins, the main songwriter for this emerging duo. “Our mission is to touch people’s hearts and make them feel more connected to one another…with music as the common denominator.”

People across America are saying this emerging duo’s music is “good medicine” and makes them feel as if they’ve “just read a great book.”

“It’s actually the people of America who wrote these songs,” Higgins is fond of saying. “They told us their stories and we listened.”

From a one-bedroom farmhouse in the middle of 180 acres in Texas, Ghosts of the American Road is the latest brainchild of internationally acclaimed songwriter Kevin Higgins and his talented musical partner/wife, Barbara Malteze. Performing coast-to-coast, the duo has logged close to 380,000 miles in their Toy Box and collected seven Texas Music Awards thus far, winning fans…one at a time.

Raised in El Paso, Kevin Higgins is a friendly voice of reason trapped in the body of a working-class dreamer. Synonymous with melody and imagery, this published poet’s two greatest attributes are a keen ability to convey life experiences coupled with a passion for constantly rediscovering himself on guitar. Higgins’ comforting vocal delivery has been likened to contemporaries Mark Knopfler and John Prine, while his modal changes are reminiscent of great American composers, Hoagy Carmichael and Irving Berlin. Aside from all comparisons, Higgins seldom strays from humble working-class West Texas roots which influenced him, (late ’60’s – early ’70’s AM radio).

The rise of Higgins to the Lone Star musical honor roll has been portended by the notice given to Cosmic Dust Devils, the Hill Country-based band he founded with Barbara Malteze. Over the course of six albums, countless gigs, a loyal legion of fans known as “Stormchasers”, airplay on XM satellite radio, Americana and Texas Music chart stations, an annual festival known as the “Coastal Bender”, and a healthy press and music industry buzz over the last decade or so, the group has become one of the most notable grassroots success stories in the state. And along the way, having his song “Company Time” placed in the politically provocative film A Day Without A Mexican and included on its EMI Records soundtrack album, Higgins has been hailed as “quite possibly the next great Texas songwriter” (RockzillaWorld.net), “a gifted songwriter” (Denver Post) and “one of the most talented songwriters around” (MyTexasMusic.com); noted Grammy-winning producer and musician, the late Barry Beckett, member of the Muscle Shoals Sound rhythm section heard on scores of legendary hit recordings, observed how “Kevin sings from the soul and his songs speak the truth” after working with the duo in Nashville.

“Kevin and I actually have two careers. In Texas, we love rocking out with the Dust Devils,” said Barbara, with a smile. “On the road, as Ghosts of the American Road, the two of us get to play intimate house concerts and listening rooms. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Hearing Barbara Malteze deliver a song is tantamount to a religious experience. The oldest of nine, (raised in a working-poor family from Rochester, NY), Barbara left home with dreams to sing. And sing she would, from the rough-and-tumble rock clubs of Boston and L.A.’s Sunset Strip; to the once-famous Palomino club in Hollywood, where where she first captured Higgins’ imagination. Their subsequent partnership and move to Texas allowed them to explore untraveled musical roads, and make a name for themselves. Through all this, there remains a mystery as to how one so demure and unassuming could be given a voice as big as all outdoors. “It’s because”, someone very close to her once said, “Barbara loves from a place much deeper than most of us are willing to go. She is the essence of art imitating life.”

Together, Ghosts of the American Road create beautiful music. Defying comparisons to other artists; (whether you search through today’s music or delve into the ’70’s), one thing’s for certain. You will not find another duo that comes close to sounding like them, as they weave individual vocal styles over guitar and piano, embellishing melodic poetry that has become their cinematographic, signature sound. This is “American Music” where all styles come together at a distinctly original musical crossroads.

 

 

Mission Statement:

With the release of my 2010 solo offering, Find Your Shine, it became imperative to learn how to navigate the landscape of the touring songwriter, which Barbara did with great conviction; taking Find Your Shine to #53 on the Americana chart, #16 on the FAR (international) chart, and booking national tours. Little did we know how much growing we would do on this journey, not only as performers, but as human beings. Over the course of the last four years, we have traveled the country extensively in little more than our trusty Toy Box, (with 350,000 miles on it), some camping gear, a really good CD, our instruments and a lot of praying, (more in the way of thanks than in hopeful deliverance).

What we learned about ourselves and one another was our deep devotion to our music; giving everything we could of ourselves with every performance and deriving more and more joy through shared experiences with audiences, connecting on a deeply human level we found astonishing. Conversations started with songs carried over after every show, and we found ourselves engaged in amazing interactions with strangers who were quick to become friends. What we took away from these dialogues was the real “sense of community” taking root at house concerts across the U.S. Folks felt comfortable talking about issues they were facing locally; how they were “taking their country back”, not with harsh words or rhetoric, but on a grassroots level. Over and over, we engaged in discussions about fostering local economies as they move towards self-sufficiency, (bartering is becoming fashionable); and small, local farmers going back to traditional methods, introducing more organic means of producing healthy food for their neighbors. It is quite inspiring to be in the company of such good citizens and stewards of the land.

So, we dedicate our new music to these distant brothers and sisters and forged friendships that make this country, (and world), seem smaller and a whole lot less volatile. They have left imprints on our souls, and in turn, we did the same with them. Hence, we left a part of ourselves behind…a ghost as it were…a spirit enduring long after we are gone. As we drift from place to place, we see these ghosts and remember their stories as we roll past family farms and small towns on America’s back roads.

Barbara and I share a philosophical belief that a greater understanding can be better achieved on “the road less traveled,” (as the long, drab slab offers little, if anything, these days in terms of discovery). We catch glimpses of other ghosts, too, from a “disappearing America” remembered from our youth; “Mom and Pop” motels, diners and roadside stores; and kindred spirits searching for the “soul of America”… musicians, travelers, writers. So, when we use the phrase ”Ghosts of the American Road” it elicits a variety of meanings, any one of which defines not only us, but our journey; and the people and places encountered along the way.

-Kevin Higgins (Bandera, Texas, April 2014)