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Sunday, 20th August 2017
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Ben Glover: The Emigrant

Ben GloverBen Glover is an Irish-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and on his new album The Emigrant he performs six traditional songs and four original compositions (including co-writes with Gretchen Peters, Mary Gauthier, and Tony Kerr), addressing the universal theme and personal challenge of immigration (as his PR man says).

On first listen, the most striking part of this CD is the excellent production and instrumentation - fiddle and uilleann pipes to the fore (and a lot of piano).  But that alone does not make it 'folk'. The Nashville influence hits you in the face. It is still the Americanised idea of 'folk' which unfortunately most American artists continue to foster (with a few exceptions such as the band Solas for example).

The opening track, Parting Glass, is a strange one to start an album with, the idea surely being one of leaving rather than arriving. The gusto approach to the lyrics is completely at odds with the intended sentiment, as if he is trying to sing over the background noise in a pub.

This may come from his start in life singing Irish ballads (e.g. Christy Moore and The Pogues) in the bars of Boston, while back home in the pubs of Ireland he was singing Dylan and Springsteen.

The singing all the way through is very reminiscent of The Pogues with a touch of Dylan (not surprising really considering his history) and while he sings with conviction, his forced presentation is at times at odds with the content. I just feel he is trying too hard sometimes although he sings in tune and with the occasional nice melodic timbre to his voice. His own songs didn't really stand out enough to make any impression on me personally.

The Emigrant is released on 30th September on Proper Records.

- Mal Robins


Ben Glover

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