One of my favorite discoveries this year has been Louisville's Ben Sollee, a classically trained cellist, who couples a unique playing style and beautifully written songs with a socially conscious lyrical bent to create a sound that really has no peer in today's musical landscape.
Perhaps best known right now for his place as a member of Abigail Washburn's Sparrow Quartet, Ben has spent most of this year touring with that supergroup. He's now concentrating on getting his excellent recent solo work heard, and is setting out on a tour of his own next week.
I had the opportunity to see Sollee solo up close earlier this year on the Solar Stage at Bonnaroo (photo above), where he hypnotized the crowd with his unique sound, style, and technique, and at one point he even busted out his own version of Jay-Z's "99 Problems" to the amazement of folks who thought they were stopping by the stage for some trad-bluegrass. It was a highlight of the festival for me and my pals in front of the stage.
With a few days left before the election, I'm thrilled to see a new video surface of Sollee's touching "A Few Honest Words", his song pleading for government representatives to say what they mean and mean what they say, remixed with inspirational verses from speeches by Barack Obama:
Compelling stuff, no?
Ben Sollee Tour Dates:
1 Nov - Louisville KY / 930 Listening Room w/ Bootsie Ann and Kim Taylor
4 Nov - Lexington KY / Downtown Arts Center
5 Nov - Nashville TN / The Basement w/ Vandaveer and Kim Taylor
6 Nov - Atlanta GA / The 5 Spot
7 Nov - Chapel Hill NC / Nightlight
8 Nov - Washington DC / Iota
11 Nov - Brooklyn NY / Union Hall
12 Nov - New York NY / Mercury Lounge
13 Nov - Boston, MA / Great Scott
14 Nov - Philadelphia PA / World Cafe Live (low dough show)
15 Nov - Pittsburgh PA / Club Café
17 Nov - Chicago IL / Schuba's
18 Nov - Minneapolis MN / 400 Club
24 Nov - San Francisco CA / Café Du Nord
25 Nov - Los Angeles CA, Hotel Café