As I said in my first article, Fortnight in Folk will be outlining NEW folk music, in the here and now. With that said, the first artist to christen it’s first segment is none other than Ben Sollee.
Sollee, like other folk artists incorporates your normal folk instruments: banjo, percussion, guitar, etc. But what makes this artist stand out is his mastery of the Cello. His use of the instrument varies so much that you would never be able to tell a Cello is being played in half of his songs. Sollee’s lyrics seem so simplistic that it is hard to decipher metaphors from just plain innocent thought, that in itself is enough to keep one listening.
Sollee’s career started with backup singing, and playing his Cello in various acts. His solo career officially began with the release of his first record Learning to Bend in 2008. Sollee’s latest release Dear Companion, is a collaboration alongside three fellow Kentuckians which released Feb. 16th of this year.
His voice his seems very familiar, yet it has a distinctness that cannot be denied. The style in which he sings is reminiscent of blues artists from the early 20th century and the contrast between the music and his voice makes for some rich ear candy.
Ben is not only known for his music, but also for his political activism and benefit shows, which he donates his time to regularly. Ben Sollee is truly a force for good in this world, he has not let his steadily increasing fame go to his head. If you are looking for one good reason to listen to Mr. Sollee, let it be artistic integrity, because he is as original as it gets, and does not let it go to his head.