Description of Ben Sollee's Music:
Recommended Ben Sollee Albums:
Inclusions (Thirty Tigers, 2011) compare prices
Dear Companion with Daniel Martin Moore (SubPop, 2010) compare prices
Purchase/Download Ben Sollee MP3s:
"Only a Song" (from Dear Companion, with Daniel Martin Moore)
"Close to You" (from Inclusions)
Ben Sollee biography:
In 2005, he joined with budding banjo star Abigail Washburn to form the Sparrow Quartet - a foursome of outside-the-box folk music innovators which also included banjo master Bela Fleck and fiddler Casey Driessen. Together, they traveled the world and released an album titled Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet even as Sollee was working on his debut EP and full-length album (If You're Gonna Lead My Country and Learning to Bend, respectively.
From the beginning, Sollee has displayed a knack for blending all his disparate influences and interests into music which is soulful, thoughtful, and creative. He often plays the cello in a manner similar to guitar or banjo-picking, frequently sawing against it like a fiddler, and now and then bowing it like the classical instrument on which he began his musical journey. He is a great advocate for ending mountaintop removal - the dangerous coal mining practice which involves literally blowing off the tops and sides of mountains to get the coal out from the top down. Indeed, Sollee joined together with SubPop singer-songwriter Daniel Martin Moore to make an album titled Dear Companion, aimed at raising awareness to try to stop mountaintop removal in his homestate of Kentucky and throughout the Appalachian region.
From his collaborative efforts with the Sparrow Quartet and Moore, as well as his various solo efforts, Sollee has amassed a sizable cult following and earned the praise of other artists and critics alike. NPR's Morning Edition named him one of 2007's Top Ten Unknown Artists of the Year. He's released seven albums in all (including his collaborations with Moore and Washburn) and has a new disc - Half Made Man - due for a September 2012 release.
In addition to his activism regarding mountaintop removal, Sollee is active with Oxfam America and frequently conducts his tours by bicycle. In 2009, he traveled more than 300 miles on bicycle, with his cello strapped to the side, to make it to the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee. The trip was to raise awareness for Oxfam's mission: "working together to end poverty and injustice."