Singer-songwriter Billy Joel is probably most famous for his frequently airplayed hit Piano Man, about a fellow who bemoans his life as a bar entertainer and the steady stream of characters that inhabit the typical tavern. The term has come to be associated not only with Joel but also in reference to Ben Folds in an edgier way (I doubt Joel would throw a piano bench at the keys, for instance). While Joel’s style is more along pop lines, Folds’ is anywhere from balladeer to irreverently raucous. Despite their differences in style, Ben still credits Billy for helping to blaze the piano-pop path.
If you’re still in doubt about the similarities and differences between the two, you’ll have a chance for a consecutive comparison on New Year’s Eve. (more…)
Since landing in Nashville from his native neighboring state of North Carolina (via Los Angeles and Australia), Ben Folds has made his mark on the Music City scene, from buying and restoring an iconic recording studio to underwriting music education. A new television documentary celebrating the history of Nashville’s music will feature Folds as one of its cornerstones. Airing on ABC Television Sunday, November 3, For the Love of Music: The Story of Nashville examines the artists, producers and songwriters who make Nashville what it is and features three dozen of the city’s most prominent music figures. “You can’t get that many talented people in one area and expect the genres not to grow,”said Ben, who’s joined by stars from today and yesterday ranging from Duane Eddy, Bill Anderson and Charlie Daniels to the Black Keys and Peter Frampton. The film airs on Sunday, November 3 from 3-4 PM Eastern time.
You’ve seen the greeting cards, coffee mugs and calendars featuring anthropomorphic characterizations of animals in arrangements like “Hippo Birdie Two Ewes” and “Wee Fish Ewe a Mare Egrets Moose”. They’re the creations of artist and musician Sandra Boynton, also known for three gold records and a Grammy nomination for her humorous renditions featuring luminaries such as B. B. King, Neil Sedaka and Brian Wilson. Now, Ben Folds joins Boynton’s co-conspirators on a country collection titled Frog Trouble…and Eleven Other Pretty Serious Songs, now available in stores and online. Folds contributes a track called Broken Piano, a honky-tonk tune about a somewhat out-of-tune upright with eighty-eight keys, six of which don’t play. Besides Ben, musicians contributing to the album include Alison Krauss, Brad Paisley, Ryan Adams and Fountains of Wayne. You can hear the track and view a behind-the-scenes video at Ben’s website, and purchase the Boynton album from Amazon.com.
Groupon is currently running an offer for a 7-inch vinyl pressing of Draw a Crowd backed with Sky High in a custom box along with a t-shirt. The deal, valued at $21.98, is yours for only $11.99. The deal runs through Wednesday night, August 28, at midnight Eastern time. Go to Groupon’s site, then click on Goods, then Art & Entertainment.
Ben Folds will appear and perform at a memorial service in Dallas, Texas August 15 for the late radio host David “Kidd” Kraddick, who passed away last month. Folds was a favorite of Kidd and his daughter Caroline, who is helping to arrange the event. Kraddick was known to millions of radio listeners through his daily program “Kidd Kraddick in the Morning”, which was based in Dallas. The service, to be held at the AT&T Plaza outside the American Airlines Center in Dallas, begins at 5:30 pm and will feature several musical performances besides Folds’. The memorial, to be live-streamed on kiddtv.com, will be followed by a benefit concert for Kraddick’s children’s charity Kidd’s Kids at the Dallas House of Blues.