The Intermittent Kevin

As rarely and randomly updated as most blogs

A modest music recommendation: Ben Rector

with 2 comments

(If you plan on skimming this blog post, at least don’t miss the YouTube videos below.)

It takes some encouragement to get me downtown to a show in the middle of South by Southwest. I’m not the most musically-inclined guy on earth, and my tastes in most things are pretty damn conventional. (Quick, ask me to name my favorite Cheap Trick song. …Actually, any Cheap Trick song.) So the musical side of SXSW, and the allure of wandering a crowded downtown just to see what acts I happened across, wasn’t the first thing that I felt compelled to do.

But then Ben Rector had to come along and screw it up for me.

Jerk.

I honestly don’t remember how I heard about this guy. It was the magic of the Internet: I clicked some link, and saw a reference to some obscure musician, and it had a list of songs he had worked on, and one of them was called “Disarm”:


If you like it, buy it, son!

I was kinda floored. Maybe it’s just my weakness for the piano, or maybe it was just an especially catchy chord progression, but I was an instant fan of this Ben Rector fellow. It took me a few days to stop sticking the song on repeat.

As a singer-songwriter, Ben has gotten started at a pretty young age—“Disarm” was on an album called Twenty Tomorrow, the cover of which shows Ben sitting in his college library.

Wait, is that an ARGYLE sweater?

He’s since relocated from Arkansas to Nashville (good move, that), recently released a new album, and toured the greater Arkansas-Nashville region quite a bit. Finally, after doing almost a half-dozen shows in Waco, he made it the additional 90 minutes down the highway to Austin for SXSW.

Show your manager this map, Ben.

Anyway, long story short, his new album is just as great. It’s Top 40 pop all the way, but very well-executed; when I played it for my wife, she opined that Ben could replace the lead singer of The Fray. You know, in case of an “accident.”

Watch your back, buzzcut.

The best song, “Moving Backwards,” is a beautiful tune that explores and laments the blurry overlap between love, God, and the crazy world around us. Plus it has an awesome video concept (sadly, this is only a preview):

Like any musician worth his salt, Ben was also a solid live performer, playful and well-connected with the audience (and SXSW audiences can be especially distracted). He did a solid job replicating the sound of his album with a three-man band and a MacBook playing loops. At one point Ben improvised two entire verses about Texas. Sadly, though, we did NOT hear this cover of a timeless classic:

Anyway, check him out if you’re interested. There’s more music on his Myspace page and YouTube, and for you Austin folks, I’ll inevitably send out some long-winded too-witty invite when I hear he’s coming back into town.

Speaking of long-winded, THE END.

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Written by Kevin Miller

March 21, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Too bad he’s a super huge jerk in real life. I was a big fan and went to see him when he opened for a band called “The Reckoning” in my little college town. Didn’t know the headliner but shelled out the cash for tickets just to see him. Performance was great, but when I went to the lobby after the show to meet him he was insanely rude to me. I thought maybe it was just me. Me and my friend left and went to a local bar down the way, ran into a couple of friends who’d also been to the show. Before we even had a chance to tell them what had happened they begin exploding about how they’d approached him out by the tour bus and told him how much they enjoyed his performance and he’d treated them like complete crap, even yelling in their face at one point. It was seriously crazy. Obviously I still love his music, but can’t stomach supporting such a jerk.

    Anonymous

    June 30, 2012 at 10:45 am

  2. Sorry to hear that. He was a nice-enough guy when I met him a couple years back.

    Kevin

    June 30, 2012 at 10:47 am


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