Ben Somers is a musician who has been around music all his life. His Dad, Steve Somers, who was and is an active artist has inspired him, and helped him become the folk and jazz artist he is today.
Having released a country album in the past with his father called ‘The Highway is My Home’ and toured with artists such as Taylor Swift and Seal it is no surprise that this new album draws upon many different inspirations. Throw in other inspirations such as Willie Nelson and Sonny Rollins and you really do have a recipe for a special piece of work.
The album at first listen maybe suffers from that eclectic mix of inspirations but it’s diversity turns out to be its strength. This is an album that requires a second listen; and a third, fourth, fifth…you get the picture! Every listen draws you deeper into its spider’s web of genre defying music and slowly the diversity becomes a much more cohesive collection as the listener unravels the complexities within.
Ben Somers himself plays many different styles of music and this recording more than any other draws them together as one with nods towards bluegrass, jazz, European folk and a little Country influence. This album feels like it pulls the various strands of a diverse career together to one refined point.
It allows Ben and the excellent musicians he plays with to really explore new tracks and covers alike with a natural love of their craft. On the album Ben takes care of vocals, double bass and sax; Dorian Ricaux plays guitar; Evan Davies plays mandolin and Marius Pibarot plays fiddle. Dad, Steve, guest vocals and plays acoustic guitar on ‘Blue Shadows on the Trail’ and Hannah Hull lends her harmony vocals to ‘Trouble in Mind’ ‘and ‘Bored Farewell’.
The song Melody for Jules’ brings Marcus Bonfanti and Matt Park into the fold with acoustic guitar and pedal steel guitar respectively. There is a real feeling of cohesion amongst the artists and I would imagine seeing the music played live would bring another level entirely to the album’s already high level of musicianship.
For fans of jazz, folk and bluegrass I’d highly recommend a listen to ‘Poor Stuart’, but its diversity will help it appeal to a far wider audience and I hope this brings Ben the success it deserves. Musicianship of this calibre is a joy to find. Ben has said before that he tries to find a direction through all the styles of music” that he’s passionate about and it feels like this album has gone a big step towards that goal. Enjoy!