Monday, February 16, 2009

Ben Kweller's Gone a Little Bit Country: New Record, Web Series, Tour Starts Tonight

Let's start by saying this: we're suckers for Ben Kweller. The man has a gift for melody, lyrics that seem genuinely personal, and a production team that knows how to make a solid rock and roll record. All that being said, we weren't too surprised to find ourselves digging his new record. What we were surprised to find is that Kweller has decided to throw down the country music gauntlet.

Changing Horses has all of the Kweller trademarks - his vocals and lyrics are front and center, and all of the songs are driven by his acoustic guitar. Yet he's acquired a host of instruments in his band that firmly push him into country territory. Pedal steel or slide guitar lines many of the tracks, and many of the choruses are full on group singalongs.

Granted, many of Kweller's tunes already had a folk feel that lends itself easily to a country sound. The thing that seems to have changed here is that Kweller seems to have embraced his country side completely. No longer is it the sound of a singer-songwriter trying to rock - it's the sound of a country singer singing country rock music. To be frank, the transition is so smooth that we wouldn't be surprised if this record takes on something of a landmark entry into Kweller's catalog. He has managed to find a niche into which his songwriting soundly fits, and the result is his best record in years.

On top of the new record, Kweller has committed himself to a spring tour, as well as a weekly web series entitled "One Minute Pop Song". The tour runs over February and March, and is staying east of the Mississippi for the most part - you can check out the dates below. The web series is actually in it's second season, and apparently gives "behind the scenes looks" into Kweller's personal life. Indeed.

While we can't say we're that stoked to see where Kweller "first kissed his wife" (on the cheek, right? right????), we can say that the new record is top notch. Kweller passed through a country filter is tasty, catchy, and authentic all in one fell swoop. What's more, it's a nice addition to his already rock-solid catalog of songs - check it out.

Ben Kweller Spring Tour 2009

16 - Omaha, NE - Slowdown

17 - Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theatre
18 - Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall

21 - Cleveland, OH - Case Western Reserve U

22 - Toronto, ONT - The Mod Club Theatre

24 - Somerville, MA - Somerville Theatre

25 - New York, NY - Town Hall

26 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club

27 - Philadelphia, PA - TLA

28 - Pittsburgh, PA - Diesel


01 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle

03 - Lousiville, KY - Headliners Music Hall

04 - Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge

05 - Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club

06 - Birmingham, AL - Workplay Theater

mp3: Ben Kweller - Old Hat