Sweet Ghosts is the project of singer-songwriter Ryan Alfred and vocalist Katherine Byrnes. At once familiar and mysteriously unique, they combine “stunning, unpredictable harmonies” (Tucson Weekly) with a colorful instrumental palette where acoustic folk instruments blend with orchestral touches and subtle Brian Eno-inspired synthesizers, with songs that “sound like late afternoon...when winter's coming” (MySpiltMilk.com).
Ryan and Katherine are both veterans of the thriving Tucson music scene. Ryan has travelled the world as the upright bassist and harmony singer in the celebrated Tucson band Calexico, toured with Telluride Bluegrass Festival winners Run Boy Run, and has collaborated on recordings with the likes of Ryanhood, Carlos Arzate, and Gabriel Sullivan. As a sound engineer, he has toured with The Jayhawks, Nick Lowe, The Swell Season, and many others. Katherine has traveled to China as the lead singer of The University of Arizona Big Band, as well as a stint as a background singer for Americana star Amos Lee. She has an album of duets with famed pianist-arranger Jeff Haskell (Linda Ronstadt), and routinely headlines theaters all over the southwest singing the music of Carole King, Barbra Streisand, and Janis Joplin.
Together, they have toured as far east as New Orleans, as far north as Seattle, and crossed the southern border for a concert in Hermosillo, Mexico, sharing their unique brand of Americana. They’ve opened shows for Calexico, AJ Croce, Head For The Hills, and Shane Alexander, as well as live spots and airplay on radio stations like LA’s KCSN, Tucson’s KXCI, New Orleans’ WWOZ, and many others.
“The two have crafted a sound that smartly nods to their previous work without relying on it”, says the Midland Reporter-Telegraph of their debut album “Certain Truths”, a 10-song collection Zocalo Magazine called “a gloriously heart-wrenching debut”. Their followup 7” single “Wreckage” was hailed by Phoenix New Times as “their best song to date…so many brilliant musical moments contained in its three minutes that it's almost overwhelming”.
Their current live band features Benjamin Nisbet (Tucson Symphony) on violin and guitar, Angelo Versace (UofA Dept of Jazz Studies) on piano, and Kai Felix on drums.