“A sparkling debut . . . I love this songwriter!”
“A lot of people tend to see their lives in terms of journeys, but I’ve always seen mine in terms of destinations—emotionally, romantically, musically—what have you. There are ones I’m trying to get to or leave, ones I’ve hung out too long in, or maybe departed too quickly. I think somehow, my songs reflect that.”
On this debut from Miles East, Ghosts of Hope, the quiet push and pull of human transformation is set against the volatile backdrop of the east coast seascape where he grew up and still resides (“I’ve come a long way to be with you / I’ve survived a storm of sacrifice,” “You Win”). Songs roil with hopeful hellos, conflicted goodbyes, hard exits, and harder entrances. His characters move cautiously and thoughtfully, torn by the unsettling truth that actions can be both a positive and a negative force, even simultaneously.
Like Dawes, Jason Isbell, or Ray LaMontagne, the ghosts of the great singer-songwriters are present—and even evoked—in a modern way that seems to stretch the very definition of the term. It’s no surprise, then, how this debut gained its title.
When asked what brought multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Jonathan Ellinghaus to this latest destination—and the name Miles East—after having spent over a decade as an A-list New York City studio musician and elite drummer, his answer is a succinct one. “Oh, I’ve always been here. It’s just time now to invite everybody in.” He elaborates further, “It’s interesting, because I believe it’s the songwriting that’s afforded me the success I’ve achieved as a drummer—especially in the studio. I always arrived at drum parts as a songwriter first and as a drummer second. My parts need to serve the song every bit as much as the guitars, or vocal, or even lyrics for that matter.”
Then there’s the question of the moniker Miles East. Ask Ellinghaus whether it’s a band name or a pseudonym and his answer is, “Yes! And call me Miles if it feels right. As an artist, it does to me. It represents the one destination that’s helped me navigate all the others I’ve mentioned, and there’s only one way to get there.”
Ghosts of Hope, the debut from Miles East, was produced and recorded by New York indie-music luminary Blake Morgan.