Ghost Wolves: Two road warriors and a dog

by Jackie Renzetti


Photo courtesy of Tina Machina


The Ghost Wolves brought their punk blues to Lee’s Liquor Lounge in Minneapolis on Thursday. After a stop in Madison, the pair made their way to Illinois, where they currently have three shows lined up before they hit the road again.


Stomp and blues “power couple” Carley and Jonny Wolf comprise the duo. A music festival in Texas originally brought the pair together – Carley was working as a sound engineer, and Jonny was drumming for a band. Eventually, they began dating and playing music together. They released their first album “In Ya Neck!” in 2011, and followed up with their second LP “Man, Woman, Beast” in 2014. Since their formation, they’ve toured most of the United States and several countries overseas including Ireland, Japan, Austria, Germany, Italy, France and Switzerland.  Last month, the pair took on SXSW and began another United States tour on Monday.


Though Carley and Jonny provide most of the vocals, their dog Winter makes a few appearances in their recordings. The track “Ride the Wolf” features Winter’s soulful howls, and they borrowed his jingly collar for “Dangerous Moves.”


“He’s just always with us, he’s just part of our family,” Jonny said of their pet, adding that Winter usually hangs out in their recording studio and accompanies them on tour, sometimes with his “sister” Polar.


“Dangerous Moves” originated with Carley, who wanted to reverse the traditional blues trope of a man writing a song about seeking revenge after a woman has cheated on him.


“It’s inspired by dangerous women, we have some lethal women in our family and we’re inspired by them and their legacy,” Carley said.


For that track, the pair started with the main riff and built from there.


“We kind of just go to each other with a skeleton idea and then work through it and develop it together,” Carley said of the pair’s songwriting process.


The duo said they enjoyed working on “Shotgun Pistol Grip,” for which their producer Gordie Johnson brought his three kids to sing the line “Grandma’s a rebel raised by the devil.”


However, the band doesn’t pick favorites.


“We like playing them all [live],” Carley said. “I enjoy ones where we have audience participation where people are singing with us, that brings up the energy.”  


Through May 3rd, the Ghost Wolves are playing venues throughout the Midwest and East Coast.