For a stalwart young artist who creates different means to an end, Ben Sollee has enjoyed a whirlwind year replete with remarkable success and warm, exciting music to match.
Sollee hails from Kentucky, yet sounds nothing like the colloquial music one traditionally associates with the state (or anywhere else for that matter). He eschews traditional singer-songwriter and folk boundaries, choosing a cello rather than a guitar as his divining rod, and utilizing unique plucking and percussive bow techniques juxtaposed against his blue-eyed soul meets Antony Hegarty vocal leanings. Ben enjoys collaborating with musicians as disparate as Otis Taylor and Bela Fleck, touring with indie rock royalty, and covering Sam Cooke as an homage to blues. When he ventures out of Louisville, sometimes he'll just strap this cello to his back and ride his bike rather than enjoy the comforts of a van or bus, as he did on his southern trek in the summer of 2009 -- playing intimate shows in every town he hits between his larger headlining performances. Yes, Ben's always done things a bit differently.
Not interested in slowing down, Sollee spends his spare time championing issues close to his heart, such as ending mountaintop removal through his volunteer work, playing benefit concerts for Kentuckians For the Commonwealth and Oxfam, as well as assembling the aforementioned bike tours to encourage greener living. Ben wears his conscience on his sleeve without proselytizing or taking away from what matters most, his imaginative music.
Yes, Ben truly traces his own trajectory. And perhaps that's what will keep him both an engaging artist and person for years to come.