by Mark DemingTaking his name from a line in a tune by Wilco, Cherry Ghost is the stage name for Simon Aldred, a British singer and songwriter who decided to strike out on his own as a solo act in 2005 after several years of playing in a succession of failing rock bands. Writing evocative songs that mingle joy and sorrow in the manner of his acknowledged influences Sparklehorse and Smog, Aldred began recording his songs at home, using sampling technology to build expansive arrangements for the tunes, and demos of his material started making the rounds of British record companies. Aldred used the name Cherry Ghost for the project, and set up a MySpace page under the moniker, featuring several of the demos he'd recorded at home. Between press attention for the demos and a steady stream of traffic to the MySpace page, Cherry Ghost was quickly earning a reputation as a "band" to watch, and Aldred began performing live under the name, with the accompaniment ranging from a full band to Aldred solo with an acoustic guitar, depending on the circumstances. Heavenly Records made a deal with Aldred, and the debut Cherry Ghost single, "Mathematics," was released in April 2007. A second single, "People Help the People," arrived the following June; it was a preview of the debut Cherry Ghost album, Thirst for Romance, which was produced by Dan Austin and released in July 2007. As Cherry Ghost's performing schedule increased, Aldred turned Cherry Ghost into a "real" band with a stable lineup, with Jim Rhodes, Ben Parson, Grenville Harrop, and Phill Anderson named as his full-time bandmates.