June 14, 2013 in Press

Grooveflash on Phantom Train

The Marshall Pass - Phantom Train

“With traditional Appalachian and Western sounds blended with modern folk and country, The Marshall Pass has delivered a worthy first effort with Phantom Train. Only seven songs long, the disc has all the required imagery of the Old West – trains, guns,and graveyards as well as the more eternal emotional themes of loss, leaving and heartache.”

Read the entire article at grooveflash.com/the-marshall-pass

March 13, 2013 in Press

Red Line Roots on Phantom Train

The Marshall Pass - Phantom Train

“I have been extremely lucky in the music that has been sent to me thus far. I have heard some new bands that I dug, I have been given the opportunity to review local bands I know and love, and in the case of The Marshall Pass, I get to review a band that made me say “Holy sh*t that is some great music”.

Never before, have I heard a somewhat somber, sorrowful sounding record with so many colors and deep levels to it. I don’t know the band personally, but after listening to the record I feel a personal connection to the gents. From what I gather the back story of the project was in memoriam to a lost friend. The entire record illustrates that very well. Each and every note and part is artistically and professionally placed. Craig Rawding’s vocals are just enough, not too much, but still have that “this guy is a pro” sound to them, this is something that Nashville should be paying attention to and take note. Mixed with the plethora of instruments Duncan Arsenault adds to the mix creates a palate of loss, distress, and the hopefulness that maybe things will get better. They have to, right?…”

Read the full article here

February 22, 2013 in Press

Ten Miles on Phantom Train

The Marshall Pass - Phantom Train

Ten Miles has a nice review of Phantom Train. Check it out at tenmilesma.wordpress.com

January 11, 2013 in Press

Interview with Combustus 13

Deanna Elaine Piowaty: It usually takes me a few listens before I allow myself to become fully seduced by a new artist, but “Phantom Train” got me from the very first song. There is an intimacy here, an authenticity. One gets the feeling that your music is as much a gift for yourselves as it is for your fans.

Duncan Arsenault (instrumentals): We didn’t set out to create a particular vibe. The songs began to take shape and they naturally sounded the way that they do. Our only goal was to write and capture the mood we were in. Listening to music always takes me someplace and writing these songs was a way of creating someplace new for my mind to go. If listeners go to a similar place, that is great, but as long as they go somewhere, I’m happy.

Read the full interview here

January 10, 2013 in Press

Telegram on Phantom Train

Victor D. Infante at The Telegram wrote a nice article about Phantom Train. Check it out here.

When looking back at the bulk of music put forward by local artists last year, one album stands out as an easy to overlook gem: “Phantom Train,” by The Marshall Pass. This album — released online by Duncan Arsenault (of Big Eyed Rabbit and The Curtain Society, among others) and Craig Rawding (of The Delta Generators) — is a moody, sometimes gritty collection of songs which, according to a note on the band’s Bandcamp page, were originally written for the band Pistol Whipped, which Arsenault played in with late local music favorite Scott Ricciuti.

But intended destinations aside, Arsenault and Rawding make a formidable team here, and the result is some gorgeous, melancholy music that’s obviously informed by blues, without being totally slavish to the genre. The songs linger on lovers leaving, on defeat in the face of debt, on the thousand mundane things that we’ve sung about for centuries, the myriad tiny things that seem so common but which, ultimately, become the things that mean the most to us. But amid the heartbreak, Rawding and Arsenault give us moments of grace, of entwined defiance and acceptance, casting the whole thing in a delicate light, finding the achingly human moments buried within.

And like the songs’ own histories, there’s a constant, bittersweet sense of detours, of people not arriving where they intended. “When your blood red sky is the same as mine/I will finally rest in peace,” signs Rawding on the album’s opener, “Abilene.” “I’m at the end of my rope and you don’t care/left me hanging, swing in the air.” Here, to the backdrop of a classic, bluesy Americana music, Rawding’s rich voice lingers on someone gone far away. There’s nothing new or cutting edge here, but the execution is so spot on that the simple song glistens.

The theme expands on “Blue and Gray,” with its borrowed Civil War symbolism reflecting the splinter in a relationship: “She had a reason but it changes every season/She had a reason and I hope she finds her color someday/Between the blue and gray.” It’s difficult to draw parallels between love’s end and the stunning horror of war, but here, they pull it off, mostly by keeping a light lyrical hand and not hammering the metaphor too deeply. The music is jangley and spare, the sound of an empty home.

Rawding’s voice is terribly well-suited to these songs, the way he can convey more complex emotions beyond mere heartbreak or anger. There’s a bitterness on “Blue and Gray,” a sense of an extremely begrudging acceptance. But it’s an acceptance, nonetheless, and he has a way of letting the emotion carry from sung note to silence. That’s an enormously difficult trick, one that puts the lie to the idea that this is, in any way, “simple” music.

What’s also interesting, lyrically, is that the music feels thematic from beginning to end, even as the songs’ narratives range wildly. For instance, while “Blue and Gray” keeps its feet firmly planted in American roots, the lovely “California Blue” presents a thoroughly modern picture — a couple separated by work, as the song’s persona touches down in an airplane, landing in California, where his lover is recording for an album. The sadness in the song is palpable, even if only obliquely addressed. The distance between the pair becomes obvious, even as the persona is physically crossing it.

It’s this emotional undercurrent that lends the album its strength, a power that translates seamlessly when it switches from romantic loss to financial ruin — both of which are, after all, forms of utter heartbreak. On the desolate “Default Line,” the pair step up the tempo a tad, but without losing any vigor or passion: “The race has been run/I don’t know who won/but I know I’m not payin’ the mortgage anymore.”

Everything comes to a head on the album’s penultimate song, “Stranded in Perdition,” where the album’s country roots and timeless sorrow condense to a tangible point. “You don’t get rewarded,” signs Rawding, “for being your own man/Although I can’t afford it/I’ve bitten all the hands/that ever tried to feed me/or shield me from the cold/Right now I’m starving/for a woman’s hand to hold/’cause I’m stranded in perdition/and I’m sure to be found/When I’m out of ammunition/they will gun me down.”

This is the singer as gunfighter, and whether intended as unrelated narratives or as a single arc, it’s hard not to roll the desperate grief of the album’s preceding songs into this one musical last stand. That this song allows the persona to own his own failures and flaws is remarkable, but that grim acceptance is no less devastating. It’s hard to listen to this song and not be gutted.

That the album ends on a song called “Redemption Hill” is fitting, but on the whole, this is a collection of songs that doesn’t need redeeming. This is songwriting at its most brutally honest, performed with restraint and fire by two masters of their craft.


January 9, 2013 in Press

Common Folk Music on Phantom Train

Common Folk Music has a nice review of Phantom Train on their site, complete with the background of The Marshall Pass and the story of the Phantom Train. Check out the full review right here.

January 8, 2013 in Press

The Cheap Seats Interview

The Marshall Pass co-hosted “The Cheap Seats” with Cat Wilson on 101.9fm in Hyannis Massachusetts on Jan 6, 2012. You can listen online here. Check out The Cheap Seats every Sunday night at 6PM.

Part one

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Part Two

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Duncan Arsenault, Cat Wilson and Craig Rawding on The Cheap Seats

December 9, 2012 in Press

Yankee Calling on Phantom Train

The Marshall Pass - Phantom Train

Read the review here

Often good music is good music and that’s the end of the story. But sometimes that’s not the whole story – this case is true for The Marshall Pass. They are a duo out of Massachusetts who have just put out an excellent 7 song EP available digitally as of now. Duncan Arsenault and Craig Rawding found themselves writing music together to help move past the sudden and tragic death of the lead singer in their band at the time. Arsenault would write the instrumentation and then Craig would write the lyrics.

Their sounds are lush, and the music written rings with emotional realism. The intimate nature of the album drives the melodies, and you can hear how grief manifests itself between the two, and it’s that commonality which created a wonderful tribute to a friend.

You can grab the album right now on bandcamp and itunes.

December 6, 2012 in Press

Music Savage on Phantom Train

The Marshall Pass - Phantom Train

The wonderful music website Music Savage recently reviewed “Phantom Train”.

Phantom Train, explores textures of folk music through a sonica space that echoes through a warm and serene space, employing small samples, reverbs, and vocals that seem to perfectly reflect the duo’s loss and creative rebirth. It’s an absolute must listen, as it transports the listener to another place with poignant songwriting and tenderly played music that has a warm inviting feel introduce you to a serenity that is unparalleled. Rawding’s voice teeters right on the edge between gritty and refined but feels just right for the musical accompaniments from Arsenault as he seems to mix in everything but the kitchen sink bringing in guitars, banjos, slide, bass, piano and percussions that are so tastefully delightful you’ll go back and hear different layers that you may have missed on the first few listens.

Read the whole review at www.musicsavage.com

December 1, 2012 in News

Phantom Train – Digital Release

The Marshall Pass - Phantom Train

“Upon my first listen to The Marshall Pass EP “Phantom Train” I thought I was listening to some sort of transcendental eulogy. Lush acoustic guitars and vocals that delivered a universal sermon comforted me as I floated around the details of minimal instrumentation and layered choruses. Upon further investigation it was no surprise that the two responsible for The Marshall Pass drew their inspiration from the passing of a great friend and musical confidant. Mapping the vibe and overall feel of the record is the healing process and that process is what navigates the myth of the “Phantom Train” from loss to redemption.” — Jeremy Moses Curtis