Ben Montague: impassioned songwriter, crowd-pleasing touring artist, eternal optimist and acclaimed custom guitar business co-owner, has penned his most lyrically raw and moving, anthemic and beautifully produced third album “Back Into Paradise”, released on his own label MWM Ltd, on 15th June, through Absolute via Universal.
Speaking about his album, while at the North American Guitar Studio, Ben is as passionate about his guitar playing as he is about his lyrics. The spare quality of his playing emphasises his lush vocals throughout “Back Into Paradise”, the titular lead track. He says,
“This was the track that defined the direction I wanted to take with the album. It is a ‘wedge’ of a song, and builds and builds, until it is a mountain of sound by the end. But it’s got a weird construction in terms of song-writing. It was a natural choice to open the album because it’s so exciting. And it’s a good name for the album because it says that, yes, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
The album was the result of a process of self-belief and affirmation. Writing what should have been a song for another artist with writing partners Jez Ashurst, who’s written for the likes of Gabrielle Aplin and Will Young, and Charlie Grant (Simply Red, Melanie C), Montague found the lyrics flooding out for the first of the album’s 10 songs, the searing, emotional “We Start Over”. “Back Into Paradise” was produced by Peter-John Vettese, known for his programming and arrangement work with Paul McCartney, Pet Shop Boys, Dido and Annie Lennox (as well as co-writing with Sia, Tom Odell and James Bay).
“Back Into Paradise” is about finding a reason to start again, and the redemptive power that music can offer. In the track “Gonna Love Again”, what initially seems a beautiful melody about recovering from heartbreak – but with a twist –
“It’s about me putting my arm around my only-slightly-younger self and saying it’s all going to work out fine. It’s me falling in love with making music again.”
Searing rock track “The Meaning”, was written with Rihanna songwriter Tony Bruno, while the cover of The Foo Fighters’ “Best Of You”, reworks the original hard rock monster into a wracked ballad.
“I am a big big fan of The Foo’s and Dave Grohl. He is a phenomenal song writer and his lyrics are just beautiful”.
Other notable key figures in the making & writing of the album include Jake Gosling (Ed Sheeran, “Lego House”), Martin Brammer (James Morrison, Olly Murs) and Jim Duguid (Paolo Nutini, The Waterboys).
“I’m trying not to have any expectations at all,” he insists. “But this album is so real and I’m not hiding behind anything, so I hope people respond to it.”
Ben will be touring the UK in October. He says,
“I have a lot of fun onstage, I think it’s so easy to take yourself too seriously. People want to have a laugh at gigs and be entertained and maybe hear the stories of why you wrote these songs.”
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