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Ben Folds Five

The “Piano Men” in New York

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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…)

Five Live

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Update: As expected, it’s out, available for listening online.

Ben did a live album, aptly titled Ben Folds Live, several years ago, comprising live material from his solo shows and teasing fans with the Five/Live similarity. Well, now there will be a Ben Folds Five Live album, gleaned from live performances as the band was touring in support of The Sound of the Life of the Mind.

Tracks and shows: (more…)

“TSOTLOTM” drops September 18

Even though most, if not all, of the songs will be out and about already, the reunited Ben Folds Five’s recently recorded album The Sound of the Life of the Mind will be officially released on September 18 through Ben’s longtime Sony Music affiliation. Taking a leaf from the PledgeMusic campaign making contributors all “vice-presidents of promotion,” the album’s on the “ImaVeePee Records” imprint.

In addition to the already-out Do It Anyway, the Folds/Sledge/Jessee collab contains the tracks Erase Me, Michael Praytor Five Years Later, Sky High, The Sound of the Life of the Mind, On Being Frank, Draw a Crowd, Hold That Thought, Away When You Were Here, and Thank You For Breaking My Heart.

Fans who donated to the PledgeMusic project will get access to the tracks earlier than the album release date.

A short tour of US venues has been announced for September and early October, followed by a few dates in Australia and several in the UK and Ireland; details are on the tour dates page.

Fall BF5 shows announced

Fresh on the tour schedule are Ben Folds Five shows here and there across the south and midwest, and one in Holyoke, Massachusetts, in September. In addition to the previously announced shows in New York and Pensacola, new shows are added in North and South Carolina, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Austin and Kansas City. Tickets on sale this week; see the tour dates page for more.

Ben Folds Five to crowdsource distribution and promotion of new album

The as-yet unnamed upcoming album by the reunited Ben Folds Five, due out in late summer or early fall, is seeking subscription support from fans for distribution via Pledge Music. Through the Pledge Music system, one makes a “pledge” or payment of financial support and, depending on the amount chosen, can receive a variety of rewards ranging from a digital download of the finished project to signed CDs, tour t-shirts and a vinyl pressing. For the Ben Folds Five project, a basic download is $10, and other premiums range upward to $62. Though the project reached its monetary goal less than a day after being launched, one can still enroll and claim one of the premiums. (more…)