Friday, May 09, 2008

(05.09.08) Recommends:

Ben Sollee.

So we just received an email about this gentleman earlier in the week. The email basically said: this dude is kinda like Andrew Bird and he's playing an early show at the Silverlake Lounge on Thursday and you like both Andrew Bird and early shows at the Silverlake Lounge so go check this out already. And so we went and checked it out.

Ben Sollee is 24 and plays the cello. He is a bit like Andrew Bird, we suppose. He's also a bit New Grassy, and jazzy. Here's the thing. We spend lots of time consuming obscure-to-somewhat-obscure media. And then we come here and make recommendations. Often very enthusiastically. We do this despite our knowledge that many people will never act on the recommendations, or click though to the linnks we present (sad, true, but we understand that everybody is under a constant delgue of stuff that must be done, so we understand sometimes people just do not/cannot take the time to take chances with culture), and that which we recommend might not find an audience as big as we believe it deserves.

But this recommendation is different. As a general rule, solo cellists do not perform at the Silverlake Lounge to the rapt attention of a roomful of hipsters. But here's the thing. He also plays in Sparrow Quartet, a band that also includes Bela Fleck (the offical banjo hero of this blog), so he'll play to the rapt attention of the bluegrass festival circuit this summer. We could see him catching on big with the Dave Matthews Band crowd.

He reminds us a bit of someone like Andrew Bird, or someone like Zach Condon of Beirut in that he is obviously inspired by a force that touches few people. Most young people do not wake up and say "I want to be a cello player. I want to fuse jazz and bluegrass and rock. And I want to do it in front of both small rooms in Silverlake and large fields of the Rockies." But -- and god bless him for this -- Ben Sollee does walk around with thoughts like these in his head. And that's why we're convinced that he is very needed. Because society is better for people who think these strange, but captivating, thoughts.

Endnote: For people in LA, Ben is opening for Tapes 'n Tapes tonight at the Troubadour.

Ben Solle @ myspace.
Ben Sollee featured on NPR.

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