UK’s acclaimed Jazz and Folk musician, Ben Somers, is set to release 12 pieces of new compositions, exploring the world of roots music with a blend of Jazz and bluegrass. The instrumental led album displays the range of musicianship that Somers has to offer. The album effortlessly dwells towards early American and European music influences in line with captivating tales by Somers soft, delicate voice.
The album opens up with ‘Poor Stuart’ - an instrumental folk track - followed by ‘Sideman,’ a stranded bluegrass tune that tells the tale of a sideman in a working band. Meanwhile, traveling through time, covering ‘Trouble in Mind’ intertwined with ‘Faskin’, which is a traditional fiddle tune by Norwegian musician/composer Annlaug Børsheim. The blues stranded ‘Trouble In Mind’ is a composition from 1924 by Richard M Jones. The song has been notably covered by a set of diverse artists from Lightnin Hopkins, Nina Simone, Doc Watson and Tennessee Ernie Ford ft Glen Campbell. In his own words Somers speaks of the two songs. “I’m drawn to songs which can be played in different genres and still carry the same weight,” continuing, “Trouble in mind talks very honestly about the human condition of loneliness and depression and 'Fasiken' in Swedish means 'Damn it!'. I heard a quote from 'The Raging Cajun', fiddler Doug Kershaw, in which he said ‘I don’t dwell on the past…And I think that’s the secret. If I were to linger, the blues would hit me like a truck doing ninety miles an hour. So, my advice is this: learn to play the damn fiddle!’ - After hearing this the two tunes were inextricably linked in my mind.”
‘Back in The Saddle’ is a catchy western tune, that features a taste of mandolins, fast strumming and double bass as well as a set of yodeling - served by Somers himself, taken from Gene Autry’s original from 1939. Addressing his new album, Somers said “Although sometimes complicated or sophisticated this album is strongly rooted in traditional and honest music like folk and country which I grew up on. Overall I hope that all can hear the honesty that I've put into making this record. It is a direct representation of many of my passions and it’s real people playing real music.” The album continues with ‘Life on the Road,’ a cheery 2 minute tune, followed by a special salute in ‘Blakes Reel’ to the musician and writer Norman Blake. “This composition was heavily influenced by the ‘chamber-old time’ sound of Norman’s album ‘Natasha’s Waltz’ and my bowed bass is a nod to his wife Nancy – who played the cello on the record.” ‘Blue Shadows On The Trail’ a straight up country tune by Roy Rogers from 1947 - the song features Somers farther Steve Somers. While, ‘Torintolu’ and ‘Mélodie Pour Jules’ seeks the transition of folk music around the world. ‘Torintolu’ written by fiddle player Marius Pibarot, wrote the tune (and was inspired) while playing with Armenian bands. Meanwhile, ‘Mélodie Pour Jules’ a heartwarming reflective piece that is dedicated to a ‘terminally ill’ friend.
The album ‘Poor Stuart’ is out September 7th
Catch Ben live this September 1st – Ben Somers String Band @ The Hermon Chapel, Oswestry 2nd – Ben Somers Stirng Band @ Didmarton Bluegrass Festival 3rd – Ben Somers String Band @ Isis Farmhouse, Oxfordshire 4th – Ben Somers String Band @ The Green Note London 5th – Ben Somers String Band @ The Bank Eye, Suffolk 6th – Ben Somers String Band @ The Louis Marchesi Norwich, Norfolk