New Album from Folk-Rock Musician
Opening the show! MILOW
Sunday, September 16 7:30pm
$25 General Admission
$28 General Day of Show
$35 Reserved Seating
How come everything good seems so hard to hear when Iʼm listening?
Ben Taylor listens and thinks. A lot. In fact, the word Word is something Ben mulls over daily. It is, when you think about it, the only word that IS what it means. The meaning of word connects us – in any language – and this idea of communication is very important to Ben, as is the paradox of an individuated consciousness (think: ego) versus collective unconscious, that which unifies us all (happiness, fear, hate, love). Heavy? Not really, just a part of the ever evolving, highly intelligent, vulnerable, loving brain of Ben Taylor, musician, son, brother, friend and deep believer. Not only has Taylor spent the past few years thinking, he has also spent a lot of time LISTENING.
Listening is Ben Taylor’s first album in four years, the last being the critically acclaimed The Legend of Kung Folk Part 1, which had CNN commenting that the album, “reflects the broad palette of pop” and Blurt Magazine declaring, “For some time now Ben’s been busy carving out a unique niche for himself in the music world.”
“Releasing an album represents the beginning of a process. On a commercial level, it’s a promotional enterprise. However, it’s a journey on a spiritual level as well. It’s an interesting one, with a lot of blessings, lessons and interesting adventures to have - and I get to do it with my best friends in the world. Completing an album represents a whole vignette of what may or may not be coming next.”
Listening was co-produced by Ben and his long time musicians; drummer Larry Ciancia, bass player Ben Thomas and guitarist David Saw (Saw also co-writes most of the music with Ben). Now that he is with a label, he is looking to pick up the pace and Ben is eager to delve deeper in to his songwriting. “Next time, I’d like someone to have more of a ‘Captain’ position, with a big picture in mind. My part is to write and perform, and now I want someone else to mix and produce. I want to focus my attention on my songwriting and to throw myself deeper and deeper in to music.”
While he enjoys being in the studio, Ben is looking forward to getting out on the road too. “If you take being in the studio over playing live, you lose out. They are both important parts of the same process. You need to write a song, perform it in front of people and have an audience react to it. It helps me with the writing and presentation of the recorded song if I play it live before I record it. To me, you don’t really hear your song for the first time until you share it.”
Ben’s also excited to be on a label for the first time in his career. “For most of my career, I put out my own stuff on my own time. I start really well but then slow down. Now that I have a proper label, I love sharing the reins of my creative process. If you’re too close, you often don’t have good insight and don’t know when to stop. I love what I do and one of the best things about being a musician is getting to hang out with musicians all day! They’re mostly a joy to be around,” Ben says with a laugh.
Over the last five years this Belgian artist (born Jonathan Vandenbroeck) known as Milow, has emerged as one of Europe’s most exciting young talents: a plugged-in singer-songwriter with the ability to touch a crowd and the pop know-how required to make great records. He’s an old-school soul with a new-fashioned sensibility, a troubadour fascinated by technology. Milow’s music gleams with the inherited songcraft of his heroes—Ryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, Jack Johnson—but it also reflects a point of view all his own, with specific concerns about growing pains and the future of his generation.
This combination of the intimate and the widescreen has won Milow a devoted fanbase across Europe, not to mention a list of achievements that includes number-one singles, platinum albums, sold-out tours, performances at some of the world’s most prestigious festivals and millions upon millions of YouTube hits. What’s more, he’s accomplished all this as his own boss, releasing music through Homerun Records, a label he founded in his bedroom.
“I just never wanted to have to answer to anyone else,” he says of the DIY operation. “It’s always been my call.”
You’d understand, then, if Milow were in the mood to give himself a break—especially now that he’s relocated for the time being from Belgium to sunny Southern California, where he once spent a year as an exchange student during high school. For many artists, success means stop; for Milow it’s a reason to go. Instead, he’s excited to embark upon the natural next step of his career: building an audience in the United States.
Some high-profile Americans are already on board. Milow has shared the stage with Jack Johnson and Brett Dennen. Even Kanye West is a fan and posted Milow’s cover of “Ayo Technology”—yes, the 50 Cent/Justin Timberlake jam—to his tastemaking blog, helping drive the song’s eye-popping video to its current total of over 50 million views.
Yet with the same humble spirit that originally inspired him to take up the accordion at the age of nine, Milow is starting small on these shores, playing intimate venues like L.A.’s Hotel Café, which booked him for a five-night residency in February. That’s actually an experience he’s looking forward to having again: ask Milow about re-introducing tunes so familiar now to so many across the pond and he’ll tell you it’s led him to think deeply about what an artist’s job should be and how he can strengthen the bond between him and his fans.
“Every time I get on stage, I feel like that’s an opportunity to show a little bit more of myself,” he says. "Some of my songs are about really serious topics, but I also like to have fun, and I think my shows are where I can make that clear."