Tag Archives: Ben Sollee

My Favorite 25 Albums of 2010: 25 – 11

The album, unlike the single, is a complete offering. It’s not just verse, chorus, verse, chorus, interlude, chorus, outro. It’s not one lone musical idea. It’s an entire pallet of ideas. It’s an opera, a play, a novel. The album can be one of the greatest pieces of art, and when properly done, it’s magical.

And so, here are my favorite albums of 2010 (part 1): Continue reading

Appalachian Voices: Live In Lexington

There are few people with whom I would like to see Jim James perform with. The first group of people is obviously the rest of My Morning Jacket, as their live show could quite very well be the best out there right now. The second is his self: I would absolutely love to see Jim play a solo show. The third is Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore – a group of acoustic folk musicians from Kentucky who play the cello and guitar (respectively). We went to go see them this past winter and Elana and I were both blown away by the performance. So, obviously adding Mr. James into the mix would only make the show that much more unbelievable.

So here, for your listening pleasure is a show with those very three musicians, performing under the apt moniker Appalachian Voices. Listen to it, pass it along to your friends, and fall in love with the cello again.

Download the entire show here or…

Something Somewhere Sometime

Needn’t Say A Thing

Golden Continue reading

The Best 10 16 Albums of The 1st Half of 2010

We’ve just about reached the halfway point of the year, and with it comes the time for us to take a gander back at all the amazing new albums released this year. We had some great debut albums and  myriad later releases, in a year that has so far released few of the albums I was excited about (Radiohead, The Strokes, Arcade Fire) but still has managed to keep me highly entertained.

So here it is: my list of the best, the most interesting, the quirkiest, and the stuff I just love to listen to; all combined into a no-order-necessary and no-nonsense list. Check out the tracks, buy the albums, and as always – enjoy the music.
Continue reading

Ben Sollee & Daniel Martin Moore: Joe’s Pub

Every time I told people I was going to this show and they asked what kind of music it was, I had a tough time describing it. “Well, he plays the cello, but it’s not classical, and it’s not really pop, but also not really rock. It’s kind of indie, but also kind of bluegrass, country, bluesy, and Andrew Bird-y too…”, I would say as I’d trail off. And it was true; I wasn’t entirely sure how to classify Ben and Daniel’s collaboration. Until last night.

While I was hoping for a concert featuring Mr. Sollee’s cello proficiency, the show focused more on the vocals and the songs themselves, with the instrumentation, albeit fantastic, taking a backseat to the music as a whole. The songs were mainly indie infused bluegrass tunes, as one would expect of a semi-hipster-ish group from Kentucky, but with tones of everything from the blues, to Eastern music, to Norah Jones built in.

As Elana and I stood there awed by the four part harmonies and beautiful, if simple, songs, I was struck by the genuineness of these musicians and songwriters. When they talked about the problems in coal-mining areas of Appalachia, they did so more to inform us of the issues than to make us feel guilty about these problems. When Ben sang “But this is only a song, it can’t change the world,” he reinforced that idea that despite the fact that this band has causes to champion, they’re not Bono; they’re just human beings who want to play some music, and make the world a slightly better place. When violinist/guitarist Cheyenne Mize took swigs not from a beer bottle, but from a Nalgene, she seemed more like a real person than a distant rockstar. And when percussionist/keyboardist Dan Dorff played a stomping solo during “Bury Me With My Car,” it became clear that these were just regular people trying to have a good time. Sure, these regular people happen to be great musicians and songwriters, but regular people nonetheless.

So when we went up to the band members after the show and told them what a great show it was, we weren’t surprised to see them excited to hear our congratulations. Sure, they write and play some of the best bluegrass/indie/soulful music out there, but they’re just a bunch of guys (and a gal) from Kentucky trying to make the world a slightly better place by playing great music. And last night, for Elana and myself, they certainly achieved their goal.

Pictures courtesy of the talented and beautiful Elana.