Tin Ear Records
Produced by Ben Sollee
Available: September 25, 2012
Kentucky cellist transforms pop-rock with his jazz, folk, Americana-bluegrass roots
When reviewing an album there is always a tendency – as a writer – to draw comparison to some other artist’s recording. You want to paint a clear picture in the reader’s mind of what he or she should expect before buying the album.
On Sollee’s fourth studio endeavor, that’s a tough task to do. Ben Sollee sounds exactly like – himself — which is to say that Sollee, in an otherwise endlessly diverse indie music-sphere, has truly pioneered his own Alt- Americana style of music.
Which he is now releasing on his own label of Tin Ear Records.
Catapulting from his classically trained cellist roots, Sollee blends elements of pop-rock, jazz, R&B, and bluegrass for a harmoniously groove-a-licious and pop-rockish departure from 2011‘s Inclusions.
Joining him as guests on the album are My Morning Jacket’s Carl Broemel on guitar, Turtle Island Quartet’s Jeremy Kittel on fiddle, Alana Rocklin on bass, Jordan Ellis on percussion and Vocalist Abigail Washburn.
Songs I remember most were the melodic grooves in “DIY,” the heartfelt prowess on “Unfinished” and the candid assertions from “Get Off Your Knees.”
The album peaks on “The Pursuit of Happiness,” a vocally arousing and storytelling, rock-n-roll rhythmic monster of a song whose messaging is just just as commanding as its chord progressions.
Even though this album is named “Half-Made Man,” Sollee proves once again how his self-defined musical mystique is nothing other than “wholly” made.
** This review will also published at Performer Mag.com and Performer Magazine’s October 2012 issue, and, perhaps, another publication.