is a man who knows how to make music. If you're tired of the superficial, overproduced, loud collaborations of the music industry today (despite many of them actually possessing some talent - only to be drowned out by commercialism), then I implore you to lend your ears to this man's sound.
It's deep, it's instrumental and some might even call it an acquired 'genre specific' taste (only if you like this type of music) - regardless of your taste-buds, you will have to admit that whatever he does, he does it well. He's the sort of musician that's a rather rare or dying breed in the modern music landscape - a throwback to the acoustic artists of old.
Rising to prominence in Britain in 2008 (at the age of twenty) with his first self released EP (followed by two more in the next two years), he finally released his debut album Every Kingdom in 2011. His early fame can be attributed to word-of-mouth advertising, gaining traction through the most personal of mediums. So, from humble beginnings in rural Devon, spending considerable time out on the waves surfing (when not playing music), to being featured on David Letterman's Late Show.
Officially released late last year, his latest EP The Burgh Island (named after a tidal island off the Devon coast) is, in my humble opinion, a bold and intriguing step up from his debut album which is still entrenched in my playlist. I've played that album to death but it seems to never tire, and now this... The Burgh Island EP, which only contains four songs: Esmerelda, Oats in the Water, To Be Alone and Burgh Island - all of which I listen to on repeat. His new sound is rich, dark and brooding, and personally, I can't get enough - The contrast in album/EP covers is a clear indication of the change in direction he's taken. There is of course the similar sound to all his tracks - the common thread - (it is his voice after all), but each one has a distinctive personality; some will make you sit still and listen, others will be slower in drawing you in, while others still will have you with your eyes shut in plain appreciation. He has a variety of instruments at his disposal which sometimes flirts with a few jazz notes in the way his songs sometimes don't quite resolve, but he's never afraid to push the envelope whilst keeping everything centered on the strings of his acoustic guitar. This may sound corny or preachy, but at twenty five - one of the things most impressive is the maturity in not only his voice (both vocally and artistically) but also in his lyrics. But enough writing, lets get to the listening (and looking), so you can soak in the melodies... (FYI - I updated these videos - The previous vimeo vid I posted of 'Oats in the water' was a fan-made video - still beautiful mind you - but these two were taken from Ben Howard's official Youtube channel)
Ben Howard quotes:
"'Black Flies' is the best song I've ever written"
"We’re getting a bit more creative with the songs and I’m looking forward to doing some solid rehearsal days and adding a few new instruments"
"Anyone’s debut record becomes their greatest hits really...
You collect all the songs that you think are going to give a good impression of your music over the last few years. ‘The Wolves’ and ‘Keep Your Head Up’ came about by jamming around at university. Although there’s definitely a thread between all of the songs, it’s obvious which are the newer songs and which are the older songs. I guess most of the songs on the record are about people that have come in and out of my life."
"It comes down to the mental space you’re in; the songs just depend on how much you invest in them. If you really put your heart and soul into them and believe in what you’re singing or what you’re playing, then it comes across. That slightly loose edge when you’re not overly conscious of what you’re doing, but you’re really in tune with what you’re singing about."
"Once you get onto a D28, you don’t really go back" - (referring to his Martin guitar)
We’re getting a bit more creative with the songs and I’m looking forward to doing some solid rehearsal days and adding a few new instruments
The plan is to have it quite atmospheric, giving us a lot of creative space
-- Ben Howard on the new direction of his development on Burgh Island and the album to follow soon.
"Ben brings a crisp freshness to the world of acoustic troubadours, he’ll make you feel like it’s the first time you’ve ever heard anything like it, but still having a rootsy lustre seemingly as old as the country side in which he wrote the songs
This is Ben Howard, dark and addictively alluring on record, a 25-year-old that harks to the era of music we all long for, yet when you do hear him, it’s like the first time you’ve ever listened to anyone do something so stunningly beautiful and intricate as what he does on Every Kingdom. He is exactly what we’re afraid of losing; but thankfully, he’s here to stay."
-- from acousticmagazine.com - To read the full interview go HERE
Follow on TWITTER
Link to BEN HOWARD's Official Website
Ben Howard music channel on YOUTUBE
| || |