Every Kingdom is a record that young West Country singer-songwriter Ben Howard has been brewing within himself for at least a couple of years. And yet its careful attention to detail, with tight, homespun harmonies and folk-informed arrangements, could only have been fully realised after relentless road-testing of these songs on stages across the UK and Europe.
It has been an explosive introduction to a broader audience in 2011 for 24 year old Howard. Having only signed his record deal with Island Records at the beginning of the year, Ben had already accrued a hefty fanbase through sheer hard touring and the word of mouth support that followed.
His initial success was predominantly buoyed by the incredibly supportive surf community that nurtured Ben in Devon and Cornwall after pulling out of a journalism course at Falmouth College in 2008 to focus on his music.. But that support has blossomed across Britain and beyond with the release of the Old Pine EP in the Spring of 2011, supported by national and regional radio stations across the UK. Alongside recent single, The Wolves, Ben’s songs were soon added to the playlists and his band booked for sessions.
There has been something very natural in taking that early appeal to a wider audience, and that natural vibe resonates throughout his music too, all recorded within a crumbling, creaking barn in rural Devonshire, and nestled between the moors and the sea.
Every Kingdom is an album that captures the rawness and intimacy of Ben’s live performance. The deftness of touch, the spellbinding nature of those six strings carefully finger-plucked, rapped knuckles on the body of the guitar, and Ben’s otherworldly vocal cries are spun and woven sublimely.
Produced by the band’s bassist and drummer Chris Bond, it is an album packed with highlights and atmosphere. The trio (cellist and vocalist India Bourne completes the line-up) have been a tight unit for long enough to know exactly what’s required of each other to make the songs resonate so beautifully. Opening on Old Pine, and buoyed by the expressive, lulling Diamonds, it’s on forthcoming second single, Keep Your Head Up that showcases Ben at his most raw and unrestrained, hook-laden and heavy of heart. Concluding on the finger-plucked, harmony-heavy, Promise, it’s a mesmerising, spiralling finale by a genuine and uncompromising talent.
Dark and alluring on tape, and creating this unique live story before the story’s truly yet begun, Ben Howard’s debut album is a captivating introduction to a unique and clever young British songwriter.
BEN HOWARD ON TOUR:
9/18 Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
9/19 New York, NY @ Webster Hall
9/21 Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
9/22 Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
9/26 Chicago, IL @ Vic Theatre
9/27 Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theater
9/29 Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater
9/30 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
10/2 Seattle, WA @ The Neptune
10/4 Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
10/6 Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre
10/7 Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up Tavern
10/9 San Francisco, CA @ The Filmore
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