Ben Sollee | Learning to Bend

cd_sollee.jpgThe accompanying harp, the female harmonies, and of course, Sollee’s cello and vocals, get me every single time I hear them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben Sollee, a singer-songwriter from Louisville, Ky., may just have stumbled across a niche genre that has never been done before. It’s not every day a classically trained cellist puts out a pop album. Sollee has chops. I actually shared a setlist with him during a Playback gig a few months back. I’ll sum up his performance in one word: astounding. This dude has the groove of a seasoned jazz musician, the intricacies of a classical prodigy, and if that weren’t enough, his voice is just plain amazing. After the show, I was first in line to get a copy of his new album, Learning to Bend. It’s since been an active part of my current CD rotation.

The most captivating tune on the album is arguably a cover of the Sam Cooke tune "A Change Is Gonna Come." If you haven’t already heard the song, the unique interpretation represented on Sollee’s album falls right next to the original (and if you’re familiar with Sam Cooke, that is no small feat). The opening sucks you in with an amazingly hip cello riff (for you classical geeks out there, the riff has some sweet double-stopped spicattos goin’ on).

My other favorite track is "Bend," one of the most emotional tunes on the album. The accompanying harp, the female harmonies, and of course, Sollee’s cello and vocals, get me every single time I hear them. These are some amazingly talented musicians.

Every track is its own gem. Whether it’s the uplifting, jazz-inspired "How to See the Sun Rise," the bluegrassy "It’s Not Impossible," or the downtempo bluesy track, "A Few Honest Words"; I could list every tune, but you’d be better off heading to the store and saving the awesome listening experience for yourself.

You can catch Sollee in a city near you touring with Bela Fleck in the amazing Sparrow Quartet or, if you’re lucky enough, as a solo act playing tunes from his amazing debut album. A | Sheila Shahpari

RIYL: Amos Lee, Andrew Bird

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