"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 novel."
"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, “and 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 signature sound. This is “American Music” where all styles come together at a distinctly original musical crossroads.