"Irish born and now Nashville based singer-songwriter Ben Glover has been going through the process of getting his US Green Card over the past two years and tells us the 'reality of immigration was very present in my world'. This is eloquently captured in the PR material that accompanied his CD which says 'When an ocean separates the two halves of your whole, it's worthy of contemplation. For Ben Glover that consideration comes in the form of his new album, The Emigrant, which folds his two worlds into one'.
Ben relocated to Nashville in 2009 and had a solo album out in 2014, but has also made a name for himself as a 'co- writer' of note. Most obviously, this has been with Mary Gauthier and Gretchen Peters and with Peters, he won the International Song of the Year at the 2016 Americana Awards with 'Blackbirds'. For his album 'The Emigrant', the themes of searching, identity and home predominate in a continually restless fashion. Accordingly, Ben finds songs from all sorts of places, Traditional arrangements, more contemporary covers, co and solo writes, all unified by the sentiments at the heart of each number." Read the review in full here
by Joe Breen.
Read the review online here
"One of my favourite artists (Ben Glover), the period of history that fascinates me most (the American Civil War) and Southern Gothic, it’s a combination designed to have me drooling at the mouth. The brainchild of producer Neilson Hubbard in collaboration with Glover and fellow singer-songwriter Joshua Britt, the album and its accompanying documentary (see below) are rooted in Civil War history, specifically the First Kentucky Brigade (which earned its titular nickname when, having suffered heavy losses in a battle, the commander rode among the survivors crying out “My poor orphans! My poor orphans” ) and Octagon Hall, a plantation house in Franklin, Kentucky built by Confederate sympathiser Andrew Jackson Caldwell...." Read the review in full here
For The Country blog: "a perfect piece of Americana and a fascinating examination of the effects of warfare."
"Octagon Hall is a Civil War-era plantation house in Franklin, Kentucky, built by Confederate sympathizer Andrew Jackson Caldwell in the mid-19th century. Like many of the living reminders of that era, the house is full of stories of warfare and slavery, of humanity twisted and broken in the name of a comparatively trivial goal. The First Kentucky Brigade were stationed there during the war and it has become something of a legend how the wounded were hidden in crawlspaces and underneath stairs, while soldiers on both sides of the fight poisoned wells and livestock in order to starve their enemies. The Octagon Hall and surrounding area was the site of incredible atrocities, and the energy of those starving, tortured, murderous people still remains there to this day..." Read the review in full here
Blabber'n'Smoke: "One could imagine that The Band or a solo Robbie Robertson might have made the album."
It’s a fine back story and the cast tell tales of spooky happenings during the recording, much of it captured on a documentary directed by Hubbard and Britt. However, entertaining as this all is it’s much more than an Americana version of American Horror Story, the good news being that the album stands up to scrutiny whether the listener knows the origins or not. It’s not a retelling of the era in the vein of White Mansions although there are songs that refer directly to the experiences of the historical protagonists. Rather it’s an impressionistic capture of the spirit (sorry) of the times delivered in a variety of styles that gather in musical influences but are rooted in modern music. One could imagine that The Band or a solo Robbie Robertson might have made the album..." Read the full review here
AmericanaUK review: "A film, a soundtrack and an history project. Americana's most interesting release of 2015?"
Sheffield's Payroll Union produced an American research based record recently too and in both releases one gets a sense of the voices of the past and artists exploring the great tradition of story songs. 'The Orphan Brigade' is a ghostly story only in that it looks back at ancestors long dead. Listeners will not find a timely Halloween treat here but rousting shanty reels in 'Cursed be the Wanderer' to hooky Americana in 'We were Marching on Christmas Day' and Waterboys inspired fiddle folk in 'Trouble my Heart (oh Harriet)'. This record encompasses more than simply a collection of songs. Engage in the story, in the location and the spirits of those Kentucky Boys who marched for the Southern way of life nearly one hundred and fifty years ago."
See the review on Americana UK
Singer-songwriter Ben Glover has that rare quality of making you stop in your tracks and listen to his every word as you're transported to another time and place entirely. Glover launches into Atlantic with a distinctive raspy, raw voice and takes the audience down a road of Southern blues, love and loss, redemption, heartache and haunting ballads right to the very end. Adding to the overall quality is the collaboration on a number of tracks by Nashville singer/songwriters Mary Gauthier and Gretchen Peters.
Glover grew up in the seaside village of Glenarm in the North of Ireland and relocated to Nashville in 2009. He soon set about immersing himself in the world of his musical heroes, once spending the afternoon in Johnny Cash's childhood home and visiting the grave of Hank Williams in Alabama.
But it was a trip up the Mississippi Delta to blues legend Robert Johnson's grave that the foundations for Atlantic were formed. He decided he would write an album that connected his "two worlds" - Nashville and Ireland.
The resulting album is a deep, earthy, Southern gothic blend of storytelling of another time. "Oh Soul," written with Gauthier, is a deep, haunting blues number but he then switches things up and performs the classic country inspired "True Love's Breaking My Heart".
The stand out murder ballad "Blackbirds," written and performed with Gretchen Peters, is an amazing tale told with heartfelt grit and emotion that will give you chills. Other impressive traces include the beautiful love song "The Mississippi Turns Blue," the more up beat "Take and Pay" and the spirited and moving "Sing a Song Boys." All pretty incredible considering the album was helped along the way by a kickstarter campaign and was recorded live in the living room of Glover's house in Ballyliffin, Co, Donegal, Ireland.
This gifted performer will be heading out on UK tour dates with Mary Gauthier in October. Don't miss it! - Megan Gnad
The Americana landscape of the journey shows up on "Too Long Gone," a song that comes right from the Ray Wylie Hubbard school of back-alley noir, and "Oh Sou" has the songwriting chops of back in the day Steve Earle with a voice that is fairly familiar. The rock moments on the record never push things out of bounds, but rather provide an energy that Tesla would b e proud of, and on "Take and Pay" Glover displays his rock chops in spades.
And oh yeah, the guy can flat out write, check out the pull you into the portrait imagery of "Prisoner" with the stunning opening lines:
She, she told me
She hid the gun in the potter's field
Covered it in delta mud
Underneath the pecan tree
She drew a map
On my hand in a red ink pen
Said 'Meet me here in the parking lot
Don't say a word, swear to God'
And it gets better, like a Cormac McCarthy novel. Having cut his chops playing songs from The Pogues in Boston bars and Dylan and Johnny Cash in the pubs of his hometown of Glenarm, Ireland, the intersection of both worlds is working to perfection. You will come for the songs, but you will stay for the lyrics which probably come as no surprise as he wrote many of these songs with Mary Gauthier, Gretchen Peters, Neilson Hubbard and Rod Picott. This one might be the best record of the year. Stay tuned.
Read the review on American Roots UK