PASADENA WEEKLY/ARGONAUT INTERVIEW (And cover story!)
PRAISE FOR BEN BOSTICK
"(Bostick) delivers personality-drenched vocals on this eponymous debut, which features a versatile backup outfit that adds lap steel, piano, organ, electric bass, accordion, slide guitar, fiddle, horns, and more... If you like such artists as Tom Pacheco, Greg Brown, and John Prine, give this guy a shot."--The Morton Report
“Ben Bostick is quite simply the greatest new reason to proclaim yourself proud to be a lover of country music. He brings such wit and wisdom to his brand of outsider country that he just might turn the whole outsider thing into the future mainstream of the genre.”—Parcbench Live
“Ben Bostick's rootsy, self-titled debut embraces the heart and soul of Americana…Bostick really has great chops and is an utter songwriting talent. The real deal.”—Red Dirt Report
“Ben Bostick truly shines and stands out…”--Liverpool Sound and Vision
“Bostick has scored with this eponymous album. Beautiful texts, catchy melodies and a solid band make this album a remarkable release in root music and Americana.”—Keys and Chords
“A slightly amazing feeling already captures me at the opener Independence Day Eve, which exhale a disarming optimism, a sense of freedom and impetuosity…Great debut.”—Written In Music
“Strong Outlaw Country / Americana / Roots debut, which should be heard.”—Country Jukebox
“Ben Bostick is an audacious, trailblazing messenger with enough promise to bode a paradigm shift in modern music.”—National Rock Review
“His new self-titled release captures the classic essence of country artists as he allows the storied lyrics to control the song. “—JP’s Music Log/ Record Journal Newspaper
“Not with the same kind of radicalism Kristofferson had in his time but with an independent streak that carries the same velocity, Bostick's songs are meaty bones with a lot of what the real muso fans to gnaw on and think about. Tasty stuff for brainy countryaniacs.”—Midwest Record
OUTSIDER COUNTRY ARTIST BEN BOSTICK TO RELEASE SELF-TITLED DEBUT LP
Rocking Country Soul, Raw And Uncut, Straight From The Heart
LOS ANGELES, April 24, 2017—Beaufort, South Carolina-raised, now California-based, Ben Bostick is a rising country/Americana artist that roots music fans will be hearing more about. The country music blog Jolene claims, “He’s the closest thing to a sure bet that I’ve seen in a new artist in recent times,” while his deep baritone voice has been compared to outlaw country’s Waylon Jennings and Americana music favorite Sturgill Simpson.
The eponymous record—Bostick’s first full-length—was preceded in 2016 by an EP, My Country. The EP was an insurgent outlaw country record, while Ben Bostick takes a turn into more personal territory with a broader range of musical and emotional content. Ben Bostick finds the artist well-rounded and showing a more complete picture of the person, from humor to depth to excitement to melancholy. Calling his brand of music ‘outsider country,’ Bostick explains how he coined the term: “My music doesn’t quite fit with the outlaw label, nor am I trying to imitate the classic artists, and alt-country seems to be a genre with its own set of conventions.”
Co-produced with John Would (Warren Zevon, Fiona Apple), the 10-song LP is all original music written by Bostick. Known for his songwriting, Bostick has been consistently writing since the age of 13 and has built a large catalog of original songs. New fans have often approached Bostick after a show asking for the name of a song’s original artist so they can look it up online. “I love being able to tell them that it’s an original of mine,” says Bostick, “and seeing the look of surprise on their faces before they tell me it’s a really good song.”
The album leads with the song “Independence Day Eve,” which the artist credits for getting him back into playing country music. Awhile ago he was playing with a funk band, and at a party after a show, he had his iTunes on shuffle when a demo of the song randomly came on. “The bass player asked me who the band was and when I told him it was me, he flipped out,” said Bostick. “That was the moment that inspired me to start playing out as a solo artist.”
“Paid My Dues” has a manic rhumba rhythm and 50’s rock n’ roll energy that was specifically written for live shows. “After the Rain” was written by Bostick a long time ago in the style of an old-time mountain gospel song. “It’s a song about renewal and has long been a favorite of mine to play,” he said.
“Paper Football” takes on the heavy topic of suicide, made even more emotional by the fact that it’s a personal story. “I found out last year that my first love had committed suicide,” explains Bostick. “The song is my attempt to come to terms with her death and the brevity of human life on the universal timeline.” The acoustic slide on this song is an 1910’s-era Hawaiian guitar played by John Would, the record’s aforementioned co-producer and engineer.
“The Juggler” takes a lighter turn with a story of a ridiculous self-pitying Lothario who tries to juggle three lovers. “It’s a favorite at live shows,” said Bostick, adding, “My girlfriend would like you to know that it’s not autobiographical.”
John Would is known for recording Fiona Apple’s Grammy-winning record, The Idler Wheel…, which led to the use of the same piano on Ben Bostick. “It has a distinctive sticky, tacky sound,” Bostick disclosed. There are also very few overdubs on the record. “All the acoustic guitar, bass, drums, piano, and vocals were recorded live, no metronome, with everybody looking at each other in one room, noise bleeding into the other instruments’ microphones,” he said. “I wanted the record to sound organic, like an old Dylan record or The Band, so we recorded it that way.” The song “Sweet Thursday” has Bostick using a Travis-picking style, which is something he picked up from Townes Van Zandt records, while on “Supposed To” he uses a combination of hybrid picking and Travis picking. “This technique is used a lot in chicken picking and soloing,” he explains, “but I’m not sure if it’s commonly used in acoustic rhythm guitar.”
As of now, Bostick makes his living (and a good one) as a busker on the Santa Monica Pier. He started busking on a whim, but after his first set playing original songs to a stream of appreciative audiences, he discovered he had a full tip jar, and a street performer was born. For Bostick this means there is no compromising his artistic vision. “I have complete artistic freedom as a self-financing independent artist. I make my living on the pier, and I’m not enticed by luxury.” Between the pier, a long-time ongoing residency at well-known LA venue, The Escondite, and taking his music on the road, Bostick has played more than 200 gigs over the past year and sold thousands of copies of his EP.
“I started writing songs because I had an idea for a song, or I came up with a cool sounding lick or chord progression. There was no attempt at artistry,” he mused. “Then there came a point where I decided that I wanted to do great work. Good work was just not interesting anymore. Whenever I’m in an artistic rut, I put on Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace album to remind me that I could be striving to do something great, not settling for good.”
Players on the Record: Ben Bostick—lead vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica // Luke Miller—piano, organ // Mike Gunn—electric bass // Amy Wood—drums, percussion // John Would—lap steel, acoustic slide guitar, accordion // Adam Brooks & Andy Fischer-Price—background vocals // Patrick Taylor—upright bass // Conrad Bauer—electric guitar // Jesse McGinty—horns // Liam Lewis—fiddle