Friday, September 22nd @8PM; Live! From The Red Room @ Cafe 939: Ben Sollee and Kentucky Native
Ten years ago, Kentucky native Ben Sollee came to prominence by singing a Sam Cooke song while playing the cello. The NPR sensation was not some backwoods novelty. Sollee’s spare, exultant interpretation of “A Change is Gonna Come” announced the arrival of a relentlessly curious musical soul. In the decade following, Sollee recorded a slew of albums and EPs in a daunting variety of settings. He has played with trance bluesman Otis Taylor, banjo virtuosos Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck, and has collaborated with Jim James of My Morning Jacket.
He has also collaborated with DJs, acoustic musicians, visual artists, software specialists, and environmentalists. Sollee has composed ballets and music for films and for stage. He has also bicycled 5,000 miles, towing his cello “Kay” behind him as part of his “Ditch The Van” tours. Sollee describes his newest release, Ben Sollee and Kentucky Native (which shares its name with his band) as a bluegrass record, fully aware that his is not the traditional view.
Tune in: www.thebirn.com//events/?event=10885
Wednesday, September 20th
@8PM; Live from The Red Room: Ben Ottewell.
Ben Ottewell is a singer-songwriter from
Chesterfield, England, and former member of the band Gomez.
“It was going to be called Bones That Catch the Light,”
Ottewell said of his third solo album, “but when I mentioned that to
friends they either sniggered like Beavis and Butthead or
thought it was too wordy." In the end, the Derbyshire-raised
singer-songwriter opted for A Man Apart, a
title with a pleasing ambiguity. "It could refer to my solo career away
from Gomez, or to the crazy populist politics demagogues and thugs that seem to
rule our world right now,” he explained. “Or it could simply refer to
a broken man; someone who has fallen apart."
Given that Ottewell turned 40 last summer, and knowing
that next year marks the 20th anniversary of Gomez’s Mercury Music
Prize–winning debut Bring It On, it was perhaps
inevitable that his latest record was preceded by a fair amount of stock-taking
and personal reflection. Demonstrating Ottewell’s potent and ongoing
love-affair with Americana, and flecked with trace elements of what might
loosely be called Derbyshire folk, A Man Apart is
the first solo album he has made without a Gomez project lurking in the
background. As such, he said, the process was both liberating and ever so slightly