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In the end, that's what folk music is all about; each of us telling our own story."“If albums are like children, this one is my favorite (don’t tell the others),” Anya Marina admits. It’s the one that taught me the most about myself, and it’s the one that looks most like me.” Marina’s new album, “FELONY FLATS,” marks a major leap forward for the Portland, Oregon-based singer/songwriter.The self-produced album sees Marina joined by some of the Pacific Northwest’s finest musicians, including guitarist Cody Votolato (Blood Brothers, Telekinesis), bassist Jeff Bond, drummer Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse, Mister Heavenly), and Blitzen Trapper’s Eric Earley, who contributes additional piano and guitars.Saturated with sweeping moods and visceral maturity, Learning to Bend showcased a wild mixture of musical approaches that Ben describes as "classically influenced folk with leanings of R&B and soul." The album caught the ear of NPR's Morning Edition, which heralded Sollee as one of the "Top Ten Great Unknown Artists of 2007." While people were getting their first listen of Learning to Bend, Ben was out touring with banjo player and songstress Abigail Washburn as part of the Sparrow Quartet.The ensemble, also featuring Grammy-nominated fiddler Casey Driessen and multi-Grammy winning banjoist Bela Fleck, explored the congregation of eastern and western folk music.The critically acclaimed ensemble toured throughout the world, including a US Ambassadorial tour of Tibet.
The theme of Inclusions is large, humanistic and universal – how relationships influence us all whether intentional or not.
The album explored Ben's desire to use musical encounters as a catalyst to inspire environmental stewardship.
Additionally, Ben works with regional non-profits like Appalachian Voices and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth to help preserve a cornerstone and major influence of his songwriting – his ancestral Appalachia.
Ben's mission was to engage a greater sense of community involvement at every performance.
By huffing it on two-wheels between cities, instead of driving or flying, Ben and his crew were able to discover people and facets of our country in ways that traditional touring could not allow. we want to exploit the limitations of the bicycle to slow down and experience the rich communities and people that I've spent years flying-by and driving past." Ben Sollee is not satisfied with just being a musician.
I love how challenging it was to excavate some of the musical ideas and how others washed up in conversation.