"Until very recently I was unaware of Irish born but Nashville domiciled (for the last five years) Ben Glover, that was until I was sent a copy of this unusual album that covers quite a broad rootsy spectrum. Its starting point is in folk music and it gradually meanders its way, quite naturally, between there and an edgy country music and gives more than a passing nod to the blues. So, quite a range, but it works tremendously well with no sign of jumping about, just a smooth seamless transition backwards and forwards on an often mellow in tone music but with at the same time a powerful dynamism that can only be achieved by someone who has strong aims and is lyrically adept at portraying a variety of emotions and situations.
I can’t count the number of ‘solo albums’ I’ve heard by hugely talented singer songwriters that are so lacking in variety that everything tends to blend and lose any sort of dynamism or variety, as a consequence of which the recording starts to drag and anything that could have been memorable is lost in a flat sea of tranquility that is almost immediately forgotten. This album is a complete polar opposite to that statement! There is plenty of variety although not so much that the album is disjointed, his warm, expressive vocal style and his lyrics are able to summon up and make believable whatever story he has to tell.
The album title ‘Atlantic’ is in a way conceptual, being the link between his two homes of Ireland and the US. His previous four albums were all recorded in Nashville but this time he decided to take producer Neilsson Hubbard and return to his roots in a house overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Inishowen, Ireland. On the recording they used the musicians that he had toured with on this side of the Ocean, in his words ‘bringing my two worlds together.’ His thoughtfully reflective lyrics are often questioning of our modern world, with most of the sentiments, if not all of the stories, being pretty much applicable universally. There is a range of subject matter that includes tales of deep passionate love, contrasting this with a tremendous murder ballad at the other end of his spectrum. In Ben Glovers world versatility is not something that is lacking!
One of the songs, Oh Soul was co-written with the wonderful Mary Gauthier, who Ben apparently often tours with, in fact later in the year it seems they will be touring the UK together. That song, such is it’s power, is also included on Mary’s new album ‘Trouble & Love,’ all of which gives some indication of the regard in which she holds this talented singer songwriter. There is another co-write, this one with Gretchen Peters, who duets with him on the often harrowing, sad murder ballad, ‘Blackbirds’ on which both singers have their abilities to project a story with a powerful sense of believability rubber stamped, ensuring that whilst there is sympathy for the protagonists, redemption is most definitely not an option. A beautiful steel guitar highlights True Love’s Breaking My Heart, a gorgeous ballad, underpinned by excellent bass and percussion, with Ben’s vocal having an emotional haunting air that brings this tale of heartbreak alive. The Mississippi Turns Blue is a beautiful haunting bluesy ballad with tuneful echoing guitars, beautiful harmonies and a story of deep love. Final mention goes to Sing A Song Boys,an excellent up beat, mid tempo celebratory song of someone returning home and the various emotions that are going through his head, underpinned by excellent harmonies, mandolin and bass throb.
As can be seen from the above, this is a tremendous album laid out on a broad pallet, not only generically, but also lyrically. Everything on this recording smacks of quality and believability and at no time is that diversity a negative. With this sort of talent, choosing a narrow direction is unnecessary and long may Ben Glover continue following his varied muse. "
Read the review on American Roots UK
Read the review on American Roots UK