Ben Carr's New CD: A River's View of Sunrise


On Meeting Ben Carr...
When i first met Ben Carr a few years back, i was immediately impressed
with his style and humble demeanor. He had just finished a really cool set of 
instrumentals that ran the gamut from down-home fiddle tune-esq, to finger picking 
bluesy stuff as well as highly percussive-alternate tuned, groove based jams.

It was obvious to me that Ben had a very wide range of influences and the 
sincerity of his approach came off as very authentic at time when 10,000 guitar 
inspired posers are plying their trade on the ukulele. 

A Wee Bit About This Lad...
Ben grew up in the farm-laden, Philadelphia suburbs
blowing an alto-sax, which was soon supplanted by
bongos and a full drum set.

After stints in numerous east coast bands and a foray
into full-time music hood a la New Orleans, Ben
finally relocated to Southern Vermont where he currently resides with his family.

As a certified graduate of James Hill's Ukulele Initiative,
Ben is presently a full time ukulele instructor, recording
artist and performer. His commitment and love of music
finds him teaching both privately and in schools. 
To learn more about Ben Carr visit: www.bencarrmusic.com 
Let me digress for a moment here....
As Ben and i talked and got to know each
other a bit, i thought he'd be a great artist to
bring to Wisconsin for our Ukulele festival,
so he sent me home with some of his music
and that's when it really dawned on me that
more folks in the ukulele stratosphere need
to hear Ben Carr.


If the ukulele world is going to grow, prosper, inspire our youth and morph into a sustainable community, ukulele camps, festivals and clubs need to do more to inspire the next class of teachers and performers...and i count Ben amongst the best and brightest of this next class of players. My mission as director of the Milwaukee Ukulele Festival (now The Great Lakes Ukulele Festival) has always been to showcase as much "emerging talent" as we could get away with presenting and so i aim to make good on my word and bring Ben to WI.

A River's View of Sunrise CD Review:
I would describe Ben's new record as imaginative, and filled with all the emotion
of one's natural surroundings. This record is obviously inspired by Ben's natural 
world via his rural Vermont home. It has a deep sense of humanity, and the sheer variety 
of 10 tracks takes the listener on a rollicking ride of joy, self contemplation, and quiet 
determination. Ultimately... its a breath of fresh air! 

His style shines thru on this record, as Ben combines fluid finger picking,
harmonically vibrant themes, layered with chordal flourishes and ample single string
lead style playing. I couldn't help but wonder if Ben had spent any time listening to
the likes of guitar gods like John Fahey, Preston Reed or Micheal Hedges, as there's a
real maturity to his arrangements both rhythmically and melodically.

The CD opens with the tune Leap Frog, a super-uplifting,
toe-tapping fiddle tune inspired creation which Ben says started 
on the guitar and morphed into a tour de force picking piece 
a la the looper, used to great effect. Song For Teeny with gentle hints of broadway
reads like classic Carr again combining a nice mix of chordal and single string
arranging.

Hinting at Ben's ukulele roots and appreciation for tradition,
Galope is an old Manuel Cabral composition that Ben says
John King pointed him to. (All ukulele players would do well
to read, listen to and study the legacy of John King, whom i regard
as one of the greatest finger style/ Campanella players to ever walk 
the earth.)  

The records title track #4, is a River's View of Sunrise, 
an open A tuned piece, combines classic picking, delay, reverb infused 
pattern playingand Ben's signature use of harmonics. Sultry, sweet and superbly crafted 
music, proudly wearing the banner of Made in Vermont! 

Nate and Leah's Song is a heartfelt ode Ben wrote to accompany a 
requested Wedding March at a friends wedding. Other highlights include the playful
Sugar Shack a strum/picked tune with vocals and kazoo, as well as the delicately
picked Johannes Brahms classic Wiegenlied.

All in all, this is a fine collection for Ben's first full length, all-uke-album debut into
the ukulele world. I look forward to watching this fella grow and evolve as he carries
his songbag far and wide. To purchase this record visit
Ben's site at: http://bencarrmusic.com/shop/ 

Ben's Own Equipment Notes For The Record:
Effects used:
My pedal board set up for this album was a Boss compression/sustain, TC Electronics distortion, 
TC Electronics delay, Boss loop station. Then through an ART Tube Preamp.
Aside from the DI each uke was also captured with two different Blue Microphones. 
One was a Bluebird and unfortunately I don't recall the second. This second mic was also used for 
voice and kazoo.

Style notes:
Two tracks are in open A tuning - the title song and Leap Frog. The others were in C6 tuning, 
some with low G. My style on this album truly blends and blurs the lines with fingerpicking, looping, 
harmonic tapping, jazzy strumming, and beatboxing. To further confuse it I throw in a kazoo and vocal tune. 

Where to find Benn Carr online:
Videos:
Here's a newer version of an old song. 

Here's a duo version of A Song For Teeny from a live show.


URLS: 
                                         
                                Ben Carr's 2016 Release







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