MofoHifi Records T/A Rock Creature Records (label)
07 September 2018 (released)
09 September 2018
Ben Somers fuses jazz and bluegrass on latest album Poor Stuart.
Across the 12 tracks, Somers provides country tales from jobbing musicians, reworks of old favourites, and melodious instrumentals.
The early standout ‘Sideman’ cheekily reveals the secrets of life on the road supporting a fellow band. The Englishman points out:
”You pay for my patients, hard work and time, we check out at ten when it should’ve been nine. Money is poor but the living is rich, but dying on stage, that’s not how I get my kicks”.
It’s a bright number that tells of the hectic and not so glamorous side of tour life, with good humour and a breezy disposition. ‘Life on the Road” chronicles the artist meeting up with friends after a show and whiling away the hours. Like most of the record, the song has an up-tempo bluegrass style that keeps things warm and welcoming.
In promotion notes for the album, it’s clear Ben has grown up steeped in country and folk music courtesy of father and guest artist on the album Steve Somers.
In that spirit, Poor Stuart takes on the Gene Autry favourite ‘Back in the Saddle’. The artist takes the opportunity to revisit the past with the catchy carefree revamp. The band is definitely having fun as the lead vocalist holds back laughter, and yodels through the back half of the tune.
Elsewhere, ‘Trouble In Mind/Fasiken’ further showcases the LP’s country roots, as it feels reminiscent of a Buck Owens track. The cut which serves as an amalgamation of two covers, feels like a slice of Americana, which provides one of several platforms for backing musicians to showcase their artistry.
The fact that the concoction sounds like it comes from the home of country and bluegrass is a slight surprise given that it comes courtesy of an English singer and a Norwegian original.
As well as your standard vocal fair, the listener’s time is also spent with several, jazz, country or, folk instrumentals.
While the pieces prove to be a decent listen, as part of the whole they begin to feel a tad too long.