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Ben dunks phone, writes song about it

caustic_light_200iPhone at the bottom of the pool? “My contacts! My photos! Did I have insurance???” Oops.

Unless you’re Ben Folds, in which case it’s an opportunity.

Keeping in the same vein as Hiroshima (B-B-B-Benny Hit His Head), Ben has taken another self-inflicted misfortune and written about it in song. This time, he chronicles the drowned cellphone in a track aptly titled (what else) Phone in a Pool, which can be heard on the upcoming album So There, due out September 11. (more…)

A five-hour energy drink on tightly-wound strings

Ben Folds

Ben Folds

That’s how NPR music critic Bob Boilen describes Capable of Anything, the first track from the Ben Folds/yMusic album So There, which dropped today on NPR’s All Songs Considered website.

Calling it “the most lovable piece of music I’ve ever heard from Ben Folds,” Boilen praises how yMusic fills in and punctuates the lyrics, which Ben says are about needing to accept and embrace the things you purport to be capable of doing – even the ones that you’re not so proud of. Indeed, the song is a piano romp backed up seamlessly by the lilting flute and neo-baroque winds and strings that yMusic brings to the mix.

The album So There is slated for a September 11 release. Folds and yMusic continue their summer tour.

A mixtape from Ben

benleemixtape_200It’s a recent project by Australian singer-songwriter Ben Lee, not Ben Folds, though it does feature a track on which Lee is joined by Folds on Life As Unusual. The album features several other artists who sit in with Lee, including Zooey Deschanel, Sean Lennon and Neil Finn, and is a benefit for the Q’ero Project, which supports the Q’ero people of Peru, the last living vestige of the Inca people.

It’s available as a digital download on a pay-what-you-wish basis.

Of the project, Lee said:

After almost 23 years in the music business I never presume to know what is around the next corner, and I certainly didn’t see signing to Warner Bros. Records coming. The release of the mixtape project is a great milestone for me, as it has been in the works for over a decade. I’m looking forward to sharing the music with my loyal fans, as well as supporting one of my favorite charities, Inkarri, for their wonderful Q’ero Project.

Lee will release a full-length album, Love Is The Great Rebellion, later this year. And as you will recall, Folds, Lee and another Ben – Kweller – collaborated on a tour of Australia and subsequent album in 2003.

Reunion album slated for 2016

WindmillLaneRecording sessions are set in Ireland for February as Ben reunites with his 2011 touring band Sam Smith. Ryan Lerman, Chad Chapin and Andrew Higley. They’re putting together a collection of songs that Ben has been writing, inspired by the various “Rock This Bitch” improvs from live shows. A 2016 release is tentatively planned.

The sessions are to be recorded at legendary Windmill Lane Studios, most famous as the studio where the Irish rock band U2 recorded, as well as the Rolling Stones and Lady Gaga. Windmill Lane, an unassuming graffiti-laden building along Dublin’s “Rock ‘n’ Stroll” Trail, is one of Europe’s most highly-regarded recording facilities. (more…)

Major collaboration, album & tour this spring

Folds+yMusic_250Ben has teamed up with yMusic, an ensemble of six exciting instrumental musicians in their 20s and 30s with impressive credentials on both the pop and classical side. Ben’s “new band”, as he puts it, are putting the finishing touches on an album, to be titled So There (which will include at least parts of his concerto) and will be touring the US and elsewhere as Ben Folds & yMusic starting in mid-April; dates are still being arranged, though they’ve been booked to play the 2015 Bonnaroo Festival on June 12.

The sextet, comprised of violinist and guitarist Rob Moose, trumpet and French horn player C. J. Camerieri, cellist Gabe Cabezas, flutist Alex Sopp, clarinetist and multi-instrumentalist Hideaki Aomori, and violinist Nadia Sirota released their second album, Balance Problems, late last year. Each has also recorded solo or with others in every genre from classical to jazz and pop.

Ben heard about yMusic last summer and contacted them about a collaboration. (more…)