If the names Eddie Walker, Evan Olson, Snüzz Uzzell and Millard Powers aren’t as familiar as those of Darren Jessee or Sam Smith, you’ll want to take a look back in the musical history of Ben Folds to his early days bouncing around the North Carolina music scene.
A feature article, A Ben Folds Lovefest, in the Greensboro, N.C. weekly Triad City Beat this week has a great overview of how Ben got into the music business, the friends he involved and met along the way, and some of the crazy gigs they played.
Reading Brian Clarey’s feature helps to explain the origin of many of Folds’ iconic songs like Army, where Ben drops out of school and forms a band which he subsequently gets kicked out of. It goes into Ben’s multi-instrumental abilities, with onetime bandmate Evan Olson describing how quickly Ben could learn a new instrument. And Olson’s not surprised at how many times Folds’ musical career has evolved, having realized at the time that Majosha was an “ephemeral project” but that it was time to move on.
The article concludes with a wrapup on what Ben’s original bandmates are currently up to.
There’s more about Ben Folds Five and the early days in our original Ben Folds Five website, still available using the link in the column to the right.
Gracie Folds, Ben’s daughter, has a fledgling music career of her own and a five-song EP album to show for it. Released in August, the EP titled Pink Elephant features five songs that are very reminiscent of dad’s early material. Unusual rhythms, wryly cynical lyrics and discordant runs and chords run throughout the melodies, described by one commenter as Bach meets Aimee Mann. She plays piano and guitar and Ben contributes hand claps.
The album is available on Bandcamp for whatever you’d care to pay for it, and as a bonus, she’ll be the opening act at Ben’s shows in New Haven, Conn., Northampton, Mass., and Burlington, Vt., and possibly more, this fall.
Kesha, via her Instagram feed
The singer Kesha’s duet with Ben Folds of Bob Dylan’s It Ain’t Me, Babe at the Billboard Music Awards on May 25 has generated more than its share of publicity for both musicians.
It’s not just about the duet and the song, but rather the drama surrounding Kesha and her current disagreement with her former manager, Dr. Luke. Luke originally gave approval for Kesha’s performance at the event, but threatened to revoke it if she continued pursuing legal remedies against him. Rallying to her cause, Folds has been supportive of Kesha, who he has been friends with since 2010.
The performance, incident and ensuing brouhaha has attracted much media attention including these articles: (more…)
It’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.
Recording 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…)