Some days I shake my head about how stubborn I was regarding Ben Sollee. Of all the guys to deserve a break, being, like me, a native Kentuckian, Ben was a prime candidate. Still, I was unyeilding. I had some internal grump device preventing me from listening to his music. I wouldn't listen to locals when they professed their love for him. I ignored respected peers. This guy plays the cello..."How boring is that?!" I thought.
Uh, turns out it isn't boring at all! Not the way Ben Sollee plays it at least. He bangs, plucks, strokes and bows it with a fury not often seen by the orchestral crowd. He does it all with such raw power and emotion. MOKB promotes many live concerts in Indianapolis, and frankly when we agreed to book and promote Ben and tourmate/fellow Kentuckian Daniel Martin Moore's Indianapolis play, we were a little worried about turnout. Turns out, like my previous misconception, I had no idea. The crowd filled the venue, and afterwards they stood and cheered Ben into two encores.
Aside from his seemingly natural abilty to write and arrange excellent pop songs, humor is also a tool Sollee uses well. I pride myself on being a pretty charming guy, but Sollee oozes with it on stage and off. He'll throw you off your expectations and bring a smile to your face with his wide variety of covers and his ability to make them his own. Optimism and positive energy seem to guide him. Even though he once made national headlines with a lyrical attack on Kanye West, he's made much more intelligent and profound statements with his more politically motivated songs. In fact, Sollee released a two song EP entitled If You're Gonna Lead My Country with a cover of Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come Soon with updated/modern lyrics as well as the below, and one of my favorite songs of 2008, Only A Song, a collaboration with Jim James of My Morning Jacket.
When he stopped by to record with The Laundromatinee, only my living room was available. Turns out this was the perfect, most comfortable and intimate setting we could have hoped for. Ben performed three songs from his 2008 release Learning To Bend, a classic Fiona Apple cover and joined his tourmate Daniel Martin Moore for a song even.
MP3 Session Downloads:
Ben Sollee - Prettiest Tree On The Mountain
Ben Sollee - How To See The Sunrise
Ben Sollee - Bury Me With My Car
Daniel Martin Moore (ft. Ben Sollee on cello) - Flyrock Blues
Ben Sollee - Extraorinary Machine (Fiona Apple cover)
Recorded and Mixed by Jeff DuPont
Filmed and Edited by Doug Fellegy