“The duo behind Rosie’s Ghost, Sally Peters and Jessica Kunze, sing a cowgirl’s story straight from the heart on their new album, Bandida. The self-penned tunes paint a picture of wide open spaces, cowboys, horses, love won and lost. The band’s interesting blend of West Coast country with a Bakersfield touch takes me back in time.” – Rory Bourke, Nashville Hall of Fame songwriter
The musical collaboration between Jessica Kunze and Sally Peters comes to life with Bandida, their twelve-track debut album that plays out like a book or movie. “We strongly encourage people to listen to the whole album in order from beginning to end,” says Kunze. “Each song propels the story forward. The guest musicians build the story musically and convey the tension, fear, love and longing in the life of the girl.”
Discussing the writing of the album, Peters says, “Jessica and I spent three years writing Bandida. Her story is for every girl who dreamed of being a cowgirl and for anyone brave enough to follow their dream. The album begins bright and simple. Then, like life, it gets layered and more complicated. It opens with ‘Brave Pete.’ Peters sings, “She reads Misty and Flicka, Black Stallion, Black Beauty.”
“This was me as a child,” Kunze admits. “I was more comfortable reading books about horses than playing with the other kids. This song is relatable to me and many young girls needing to create an imaginary escape.”
“Lyris’ Song” is a true story written by Kunze’s mother Lyris about her experience training a wild mustang. The passion and truth Jessica brings to her vocals on this song are compelling and acknowledge the special meaning ‘Lyris’ Song’ has for her.
The album was recorded by Deer Lodge’s Ezra Meredith. Kunze and Peters had planned to record in Ezra’s studio in Portland, Oregon but Covid prevented that. Ezra packed all his sound equipment into his truck and brought his studio to tiny Trout Lake, Washington, nestled in the foothills of Mount Adams where Jessica and Sally live. He set up his studio in the loft of Peters’ barn where social distancing was not a problem. “Perhaps recording in a barn adds a subtle flavour of authentic country to the album”, says Peters. “I was impressed with the small touches that Ezra put on the recording that sound so natural,” comments Kunze. “He has such an incredible ear and knows how to bring out the best and blend things together in a very unique way.”
For Kunze, the album was also her chance to break out from a supporting role, and collaborate with Peters on a female-run project, which gave her more confidence in her musical voice. A member of Northwest mainstay country outfit Countryside Ride, Rosie’s Ghost was Kunze’s chance to really shine. “This project is similar to other things I’ve done in that I played bass throughout the whole thing and that I have worked with Ezra at Deer Lodge and some of these musicians before. However, it is much different than anything I’ve done in the past for many reasons,” she admits. It is a half and half collaboration between two songwriters. So Sally and I each wrote half the songs and kind of wove them together into this lovely story, which was a really fun and engaging process. Sally and I work very well together and our styles are very complementary.”
Trout Lake is featured on the album in other ways as well. The photographs on the CD/album cover and lyrics booklet were taken by Monika McFadden, a Trout Lake local. And the Bandida pictured there is real life Trout Lake cowgirl Beyyine Ozkan.
Current plans are to get the record out on vinyl in late summer/early fall, and make a video, for which McFadden is taking pictures and shooting videos to go along with the songs.
When asked if the record will sound like the band live, who haven’t played a show yet due to COVID, Kunze is hesitant to make any comparisons. “I think of the record as its own thing really. I mean this was something that was created out of thin air and not for the sake of promoting a band or like a snapshot of what the band is doing now, but for the sake of telling this story. This band was put together for the exact purpose of making this record. These musicians – Jaimie Meldrum, Joshua Kunze, Jesse Cunningham, Scott Pettitt, Neil Mangrum Hank Rasco, Paul Brainard and Aaron Meader – were handpicked for this purpose. However, we may do some shows, and I think the sound will be pretty close.”
Of the album, guest musician Hank Rasco said, “It reminded me of decades ago, turning off the lights and listening to Red Headed Stranger”.
The album ends simply with a universal question: Upon reflection, have I had a good life? In the final song, ‘Wind In The Mountains”, Peters sings, “I still don’t know after all that’s behind me, did I get it all wrong or all right? ” Leaving us with something to ponder.
Artists’ website: https://www.rosiesghost.com/