Roam Like Ghosts is the professional name of acoustic songwriting duo Mathew Daugherty (vocals) and Bucky Fairfax (guitars). The partnership was formed over 25 years ago when Bucky’s band SEDAH brought Daugherty on as their lead vocalist. The band recorded and toured through the mid to late 1990’s.
Life continued as it does and the two artists spun off into different projects of their own. Daugherty fronted a number of bands including 3STARKARMA, and The Unaccountables while Fairfax helmed Radio Silent Auction and Something for Now. In 2017, the duo rejoined as Roam Like Ghosts and released their debut album “Yesterday and the Day Before.”
Mathew and Bucky are back with their sophomore release “…to that place you call home,” released to all major streaming services on February 26, 2021. The eleven song collection finds the duo further defining and exploring their unique mix of Rock-infused acoustic Folk music. Within the context of singer/songwriter acoustic music the album shines a light on the musicians’ extensive experience in multiple musical genres.
Songs like the instrumental intro “Before We Began” hints at their Grunge Rock roots while “Memory of You” dips into Country-tinged Americana. Roam Like Ghosts explore Celtic rhythms (“Rewind”), swampy Blues (“Sum of All My Wrongs”) and narrative Pop (“In a Moment”). The album’s first single “Disappear” is a perfect mix of all of the above, tied up neatly with a memorable hook.
Lyrically the album deals with themes of love, regret and hope. Songs like the melancholy ballad “Photograph (Don’t Forget Me)” and “Memory of You” look back to fading memories and what could have been. The passage of time is a theme throughout the record, and though many of the memories are paired with regret the song “In a Moment” brings the focus back to the present with a bit of Zen wisdom about focusing on the present. Daugherty sings of new futures on songs like “The Great Unknown” and “Disappear,” and digs into a little social commentary on “Sara”
Listen to “To That Place You Call Home,” below. You can also hear the single “Disappear” on the Deep Indie Dive and Deep Indie Songwriters playlists. We had the opportunity to chat with Roam Like Ghosts about the past, future and their new album. Check out their answers to our 9 questions, below. And follow the links at the end of this article to connect with the band.
9 Questions With Roam Like Ghosts
The Static Dive: Where are you from?
Bucky: I’m currently based in Cary, NC.
Mathew: And I’m currently based in Reston, VA.
Bucky: But our origin story is Richmond, VA where we met during college and played in previous bands.
SD: How long have you been making music?
Bucky: Since the early 90s in total but with this recent project it has been since 2017.
Mathew: I’ve been making music since my first original band in 10th grade, so let’s say 36 around years.
SD: Who are the musicians involved in your project?
Mathew Daugherty on vocals, Bucky Fairfax on guitars. We have several accompaniment musicians on the albums as well.
SD: Who are your biggest musical influences?
Bucky: As a kid it was musicians in my family (dad, uncles) followed by the staples of classic rock of 70s and 80s and alternative rock of the 90s. We were both big fans of bands like Tool, Janes Addiction, Alice in Chains, Quicksand, and many others from that era.
Mathew: I grew up listening to metal, grunge, alternative rock, punk, emo, pop, indie, folk, so I can’t put my finger on anyone particular group or artist as an influence, but anything with a good story and a hook, I can get behind.
SD: What is your greatest non-musical influence?
Bucky: It’s gotta be the relationships and life experiences that we have ourselves and with others.
SD: What inspired you to create this project?
Bucky: A number of song ideas cataloged over time that didn’t fit previous projects emerged and needed an outlet. I think we both were interested in the acoustic sound that was taking shape. It was different for us both and stretched us differently. We started writing and liked how the songs and sound was progressing. We decided to play a few shows and had good receptivity. We also enjoy recording and presenting our music in that format.
SD: What are your plans for the future (musically)?
Bucky: For now we want to promote our new album and wait for the world to normalize for live performances. We have done a couple of live streams and may consider a few more until the pandemic passes. Writing always continues organically and there are a number of songs we still haven’t recorded that didn’t fit the themes of our first two albums. I think people are starving for live music so I can’t wait until we turn that corner and get back to performing.
SD: Where did you get the name “Roam Like Ghosts”?
Bucky: Much like our songs, we don’t like to disclose their meaning as the listener experience and interpretation is most important. What I can say is that although we lifted the name from lyric on our first album, the band name captures a lot of what we write about, the passing of time, life learnings and experiences, and the indefinite connections we have.
Mathew: I think the name is about finding your place or your way in life, until you do, we all just roam like ghosts.
SD: Is there anything else you would like to say?
Bucky: This album was particularly challenging with all the COVID constraints. But the delays also allowed us time to finish up some songs, write some new material, all of which played out during the pandemic experience. This time was difficult for us, but we know it was more difficult for many others. In listening to the new album, although it is not a pandemic album per se, related themes are represented in love and loss, hope, uncertainty, and the relationships in our lives.
Mathew: With this album we expanded our sound and didn’t limit it to just a basic vocals/guitar/bass, with a piano here and stomp there. We wanted to maintain an acoustic feel but make it bigger sounding by bringing in other instrumentation that could be still be used in an acoustic setting.