A surprise visit home to south Florida for two days got extended into a week and a half, thanks to good friends and good music.
Biscuit Fest 6, The Funky Biscuit‘s annual four day festival started a day earlier for me, playing a full show with Crazy Fingers on Wednesday, March 29th.
Friday brought a last minute gig of “Holloway, Collier, and Friends” featuring Ron Holloway, Roosevelt Collier, Rich Friedman and Josh Foster of Crazy Fingers, Andrew Musselman of Tchaa, Rich Conklin, and myself opening for The Main Squeeze. Here is video from that show of “In The Pines.”
Saturday saw another Crazy Fingers show that I sat in at, opening for Oteil Burbridge’s Bureau of Sabotage. Oteil, Ron, and I realized that we all shared an August 24th birthday, hence the picture at the top of this post. Here is a video of “St. Stephen” with Ron Holloway.
Sunday I did an interview/studio session with Blues Radio International and then sat in with Albert Castiglia along with Ron Holloway, Roosevelt Collier, and members of the Chris O’Leary Band to play “Sweet Home Chicago” in honor of Lonnie Brooks.
On the way back to Nashville I stopped in Macon to visit my friend Richard Brent at The Big House Museum who very generously let me spend a while with Duane Allman’s 1957 Goldtop Les Paul used on the first two Allman Brothers Band albums, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, and hundreds of live shows. Here is a short clip of the time I spent with it, from my instagram account @bensparacomusic (which also has other clips from Biscuit Fest).
London-based music blog “musicmusingsandsuch” reviewed the single “Don’t Try To Wake Me Up” off my forthcoming album “Wooden.” It’s an in depth review that also covers my last release, Bring The Jubilee EP and much more. It’s great to get some love from across the pond, where the single was given a 9.2/10 rating.
Some quotes from the review:
“The guitars shine and the delicious licks are not bashful when getting into the earlobes (and other more visible regions). The songwriting looks at humanity and deeper issues but never truly exposes its meanings. The lyrics keep oblique and can be open to interpretations.”
“Don’t Try to Wake Me Up has some of the more spirited and juggernaut components of Bring the Jubilee but there is a tonal shift. Things are more stripped back and there is a move from Country/Blues-Rock to Folk-Rock. That Folk element has not only defined the foundations but the lyrics too. The words are more compelling and direct.”
“The way the vocals sound and are delivered reminds me a little of the late, great Leonard Cohen: there is no quite the low-down gravel and gravy of Cohen’s voice but something in the way it sounds that made me think of him.”
Ben Sparaco’s debut full length album Wooden is now available for preorder on iTunes. When you preorder, you will get two tracks immediately, before it comes out on January 13th. One of these tracks is a brand new single called “Cypress Hotel” featuring Grammy-nominated guitarist Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars, The Black Crowes, Phil Lesh and Friends, and more! The other is the lead single “Don’t Try To Wake Me Up.” You can preorder the physical CD under the Shop tab here at bensparaco.com as well.
Ben’s debut full length album Wooden is set to be released worldwide on January 13th, 2017.
Showing a noticeable shift in Ben’s music from straightforward jam-rock, Wooden is a string-fueled Americana exploration with shades of jazz, rock, and soul. Produced by renowned fiddler/mandolin player Ross Holmes (Bruce Hornsby and The Noisemakers, Warren Haynes and The Ashes and Dust Band, formerly Mumford and Sons) at The Bomb Shelter in East Nashville, Tennessee, the album features nine new original songs by Ben and an ambitious cover of “Things Happen” by southern California rock band Dawes off their 2015 album All Your Favorite Bands.
Featuring many of Nashville’s finest session musicians and performers as well as special guests that will be announced closer to the release date, Wooden is as varied as the influences of everybody involved with the record but has a recognizable sound from song to song that is fresh and new.
You can pre-order your CD copy now at bensparaco.com and pre-orders will be available on iTunes and Amazon starting next month.
Photographer Heather Nigro visited The Bomb Shelter during some of the sessions for the new album, taking some incredible pictures. The full album is on Ben’s Facebook page. Each picture has a caption that gives a unique look into the recording process. The release date for Wooden will be announced any day now with pre-order available soon!
After four long days of tracking, overdubbing, and mixing, Ben’s debut full-length record Wooden is nearing completion.
Produced by Ross Holmes (Bruce Hornsby and The Noisemakers, Warren Haynes, Mumford and Sons), who also lent his talents on fiddle and mandolin, Wooden quickly went from a 6 song acoustic EP in pre-production, to a 10 song, full band record. Engineered by Jon Estes at The Bomb Shelter in East Nashville, Tennessee, the album blurs the lines between folk, bluegrass, rock, funk, classical, and experimental music. Release date, track listing, and a few more very special announcements coming soon. Stay in touch by liking Ben’s Official Facebook Page and following him on instagram @bensparacomusic.
Here is the album cover, designed and photographed by Madalyn Stefanak.
Big thanks to producer Ross Holmes (fiddle/mandolin), Engineer Jon Estes (bass/keyboards), Royal Masat (bass), Sterling Masat (banjo), Taylor Jones (drums), Paige England (vocals), Vickie Vaughn (vocals), and Kai Welch (trumpet).
I’m taking a few weeks off after a solid month of playing with the Ben Sparaco Band and a great tour filling in with Butch Trucks and The Freight Train Band. Thanks to all of the great people that came out this summer all across the country and listened to the music and bought the latest EP, “Bring the Jubilee.”
To finish out the year, I’m releasing a new album entitled “Wooden” which will be a compilation of acoustic-based originals and traditional folk and blues songs that don’t fit within the Ben Sparaco Band’s catalog. It will feature a good amount of new originals, special guests, and is set to be released later this winter. “Wooden” is named after David Crosby’s quote on CSNY’s seminal live album “Four Way Street” where he says “We’re going to play some more wooden music for you.”
I’ve been working diligently to put together a Nashville-based lineup of the Ben Sparaco, which is coming together nicely. You can expect a November tour with a new band which will include our scheduled appearance in Lake City, FL at Farm to Family Full Moon Festival on Nov. 10.
Make sure you check out Bring the Jubilee on iTunes, Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp, and more! Thanks again for all the support and I’ll see you on the road soon.