New folk duo “Folks & Ghosts” launches in Nashville

By Dave Carew

Two gifted singer-songwriters from opposite ends of planet Earth—John William Hayes from Mobile, Alabama and Kurtis Murphy from Dublin, Ireland—have joined forces to launch the new folk duo “Folks & Ghosts.”  We recently caught their debut set at the National Underground and asked if they’d have a few minutes to talk. They said yes; we said cool:

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: Why are you launching Folks & Ghosts? Who do you want to appeal to?

JOHN WILLIAM HAYES: We met about a year ago at a gig on Broadway and immediately connected, musically. We began to perform on the streets together and it blossomed. The first tune we wrote, “Savannah,” came from a two-chord progression, and in about three hours we were playing it with a full band and knew we were onto something. Kurtis went back to Ireland for a time, and upon his return we wrote another two songs in two days. That’s when we started to take things seriously, and Folks & Ghosts was born. We wrote our EP in three weeks, and laid down five songs in 23 hours at Rivergate Studio in Hendersonville.

With the likes of Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers gathering such a huge following, I think we’ll appeal to a big audience. All we’re really looking for is open ears, and if you like what you hear, we’d love to see you at a show.

UN: Who are your primary musical and songwriting influences… and why?

JWH: Our influences come from very different backgrounds, so each of us has our own influences. From Mumford & Sons to Ray LaMontagne, Damien Rice, Glen Hansard, Ryan Adams, The Band, Van Morrison, and Dylan to name a few. It’s the coming together, though, of our different styles, influences, and backgrounds that give us our unique sound. We’re a band that appreciates other bands, but we are ourselves and not any other band, nor do we want to be. We value the importance of intelligent, relatable lyrics, and also the power of harmonies and melody in themselves, to uplift someone or inspire.

UN: How can people hear how you sound?

 JWH:  A few weeks ago we shot a live video in downtown Nashville for “Ghosts.” We did it as part of an Irish-based music web series called The Ceol Train, run by sought-after Irish videographer, Mark Doyle. We’re proud to be the first U.S. band that Ceol Train has done a video for. The next video we shot for them is for “The King” and you can find them both on YouTube through the links below. You can keep up to date with what’s going on with us, our shows, and life in general through our Facebook page (also below). We are due to release our debut single “Ghost” within the next couple weeks on iTunes USA, iTunes Ireland, and Amazon, and we are excited for everyone to hear it!

To check out Folks & Ghosts on FaceBook and YouTube, please visit: – Facebook Page – Folks And Ghosts – Ghost – Folks And Ghosts – The King

David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter,” both now available at Dave also is a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising / marketing / public relations writer.

Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville by Dave Carew—which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful”—is now available in an all-new paperback edition. For more information, please visit and “like” the page on Facebook:

Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit and consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is very helpful and appreciated. Thank you.


Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective, offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew




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