[Album of the Week] Ben Sollee - Learning To Bend
It’s often hard to take artists seriously when they discuss politics, love or God. Ben Sollee has an indisputable honesty about him that allows him to bridge all of the subjects in the most believable of ways. Learning To Bend is Sollee’s solo debut from 2008. Since then he’s released Dear Companion (with Daniel Martin Moore) and more recently Inclusions.
Of all Sollee’s albums Learning to Bend is my favorite. It is Solle at his purest. A classically trained cellosist with a beautiful voice staying true to the genres that have inspired him the most, soul and bluegrass. Throughout the album he’s able to weld them together leading the way with his cello, an instrument known for weaving it’s way seamlessly through various genres. A pluck here a melody there to accompany his soulful voice or that layered effect you hear under a banjo.
“A Few Honest Words” is one of those songs you wouldn’t take seriously if it had come from any other artists, yet it’s so straight forward and honest coming from Sollee. “We don’t choose our leaders. They choose themselves. Tell me again about democracy.” Politics never sounded so direct and uncomplicated. While tracks like “How To See The Sun Rise” are as soulful as they are playful.
What I find most arresting about this album is the instantaneous connection made with the artist while listening. He is your equal, he could be your friend and hes singing his heart out about the things that are most important to him. They are the basics, the problems and ideas that surround us all. Listening to this album affirms that we all have the same worries, hopes and dreams. We are all in this together.
A Few Honest Words
How To See The Sun Rise
Built For This