Ben takes a new turn with this CD, collaborating with 14 musicians to produce a rich and energetic sound that brings a wonderful depth and variety to a collection of 11 tunes. Produced in collaboration with Jud Caswell, the result is a richly creative and soulful album that begs to be heard again and again.
Starting off with a love song for his dad, “Father’s Fall” gently cradles a simple arrangement of guitar, bass and piano with dulcet harmonies and tender emotion.
“Summer Never Shines”, “Things I Cannot Do”, and “Nothing To You” are full band arrangements with Leopard Girls and powerful backup harmonies. Edgy and tasteful lead guitar work from Chris Simpson weaves in and out of the rhythm section of Hal Ahlers on drums and Gary Lawless on bass. Scott Woodruff pulls the tracks together with the colorful fabric of his rhythm guitar, and the harmonies of Brio – Deb Hensley, Matt Loosigian, and Martin Swinger – bring the emotional knock-out punch to these tracks.
Ben gives us a Cheshire-cat of a song - declarative and questioning at the same time - with a solo performance on “All Men Are Pigs”. The piano drives the song forward with unrelenting force, with Ben’s vocal poking and prodding at what we think we know and don’t know.
And then there are the jazz gems: “Birthday Suit” and “Take Me”. The first features a stripped-down arrangement – perfectly suited to the lyrical humor of the piece – and a “plucky” violin part featuring Nancy Roderick. “Take Me” settles into a groovy 5-beat, with stand-up bass of Jason Rafalak, brushes on drums, piano, and a very sexy sax played by Fred Cantu. Hard to shake these tracks out of your head…
Sparse arrangements reveal some of the more personal emotions on the album. In “Punch in the Guts” we feel the deep pain of betrayal, poignantly etched with the haunting guitar work of Paul Benham. Paul returns for the introspective “On This Water” to provide a counterpoint to the beautiful seascape of Ben’s piano. A pair of acoustic guitars (Ben and Jud Caswell) provides the backdrop for “All I Got Is Blue” – a clever play on color and mood that features a brilliant mouth trumpet performance by Heather Hardy.
The album finishes as sweetly as it started, with Ben singing and picking a simple acoustic guitar part as Justin Maxwell gently harmonizes with his accordion on “You Are Love”.
You’ll be pressing the Replay button when you’ve finished…
released December 12, 2015
All songs by Ben Hunsberger
Cover photo: Heather Perry
Inside photo: Scott Woodruff
Album layout: Jeffrey Lipton and Ali Hunsberger
Executive producer: Peter Hunsberger
Produced and recorded by Jud Caswell at Frog Hollow Studios, Brunswick, ME and Welcome Farm Music, Bowdoinham, ME.
Paul Benham recorded himself, maximumjack studio.
Ben Hunsberger: keyboards, guitar, vocals, and harmonies
Chris Simpson: lead guitar 2, 5, 9
Deb Hensley: harmony 1, 2, 5, 7
Fred Cantu: tenor sax 7
Gary Lawless: bass 2, 5, 9
Hal Ahlers: drums 2, 4, 5, 7, 9
Heather Hardy: mouth trumpet 8
Jason Rafalak: bass 4, 7
Jud Caswell: bass 1, guitar 4, 8, 9, vocal 10
Justin Maxwell: accordion 11
Martin Swinger: harmony 1, 2, 5, 7
Matt Loosigian: harmony 1, 2, 5, 7
Nancy Roderick: violin 4
Paul Benham: guitar and effects 6, 10
Scott Woodruff: guitar 2, 5, 9