Ben Sollee – Close To You
Ben Sollee – Embrace
Cellist Ben Sollee has been on my radar for awhile and with the release of his album Inclusions last week, he's made me a full-fledged fan. It's a bit misleading to simply call him a "cellist" as he's really a talented indie songwriter and composer who just happens to play the most beautiful sounding instrument on Earth.
Ben Sollee's songwriting seems to operate in two different planes on Inclusions. First, there's the tender minimalist who writes gentle love songs like "Embrace" and "Cluttered Mind". "Embrace" in particular has cello front and center, though Sollee only relies on a few bowed notes and some background noise to fill up the empty space behind his vocals. It's a spiritual brother of Sharon Van Etten's "DsharpG" in it's less-is-more-heartfelt aesthetic.
Then there's the rockin', lushly orchestrated soulful singer who turns out tracks like "Close To You". It's full of funky swagger that erupts in a New Orleans-fueled chorus. There's a great meshing of instruments and styles all over Inclusions that's tightly held together by Sollee's vocals and natural talent.
Fortunately for us in the Erie area, Ben Sollee will be playing the Club Cafe in Pittsburgh on May 18. I have to imagine a Sollee concert would be quite the emotional experience, so I'd certainly recommend checking him out.