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March 2018: The Green Pajamas – Phantom Lake: Northern Gothic 3

It’s Green Pajamas Time!


It’s been two months since we changed the AotM and this is probably what it is going to be like going forward – a little sporadic, a little less robotic, more impromptu. It’s the future, baby. And now, we have a new album for you and is really quite good. Some pundits are saying one of the best. The Scoop?

Phantom Lake: Northern Gothic 3 is the final installment of the trilogy which began in 2002 with Northern Gothic (Camera Obscura). It was followed up by, Box of Secrets: Northern Gothic 2 (Hidden Agenda) in 2007.

When Laura Weller and Jeff Kelly were thinking about where their next project might go, Laura introduced the idea of writing songs inspired by childhood.  She had grown up in a neighborhood called Phantom Lake, memories of which eventually inspired four songs on this record.  Jeff also drew from youth, remembering trips to Lost Lake, about twelve miles out of Shelton, Washington, where relatives had a cabin, as well as many vacations to the Washington coast over the years.  Eric Lichter remembers a family from his past in the song, “The Rosebergs,” about a catastrophic tsunami roaring in off of the Pacific.

These are the same landscapes that populated many of the songs on the two previous Northern Gothic albums.  The grey skies, the endless evergreens, the “black and blue moon” and “a thousand crows” which hang over small lakeside or West Coast towns populated by the lonesome, the unlucky-in-loves and even a few slightly eerie children.  

This is a dark album. It is about obsession and sorrow and murder and too much whiskey.  The characters that permeate these songs exist in the shadows, often in the margins of society.  These lost souls of the northern gothic world of Phantom Lake remind us of what it is to be human.

That is the story as it is told.

Here is another story. This is the end of the Green Pajamas as you know them. They will play one more show in Seattle on June 29 at Slim’s Last Chance Saloon. Then no more. Does that mean Jeff will no longer make music. Nope. He will make more. Does that mean Jeff will make no more records with the Green Pajamas? Well, I think so, but that is up to Jeff. Does it mean no more Green Pajamas shows? Yup. Exactly that. Though forever is a long time. So if you are thinking you would like to see the PJs play, I would highly recommend Slim’s. We will post further information on the topic as the date gets nearer.

In other news of possible interest GMR is inching ever closer to releasing the debut of Brain Wizard. I believe Brain Wizard hails from a different planet, but an ultimately friendly planet. THE Brain Wizard has been zigging and zagging in his approach to the Planet Earth for a while now and I believe he is moments away from landing on the White House lawn. I could be wrong about that though.

It is worth noting I have been working on a new solo album in a sporadic manner for a while now and I did a song with Amy Denio a month or so ago called “Death At Mounts Road” that is about the recent Amtrak train wreck near my town. It may find a home on that album. Or not. Either way I was very pleased with the outcome and I hope it is the first of many collaborations with the oh-so-talented Ms. Denio.

I am also working on a new album with Tom Dyer and The True Olympians. This is a pretty normal four piece band, as much as you can call anything I do normal. We did a single this Christmas and now are right in the middle of recording a twelve song album. With song titles like “Wibblin’ For Jesus,” “Hegemony,” and “The Ballad of Donald John Trump” it is certain to be a heartfelt best seller. Or not.

In a final bit of new there will be a GMR Spectacular at Slim’s Last Chance Saloon Saturday, April 7 with The Navins, The Shaken Growlers and Swedish Finnish. While it remains to be seen, it raises the possibility of the rarely seen five guitar rock jam, ala the Blue Oyster Cult. Be still my pattering heart!

See ya soon –

td March 2018

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