1 - Ben Howard
|Image thanks to Surf Girl Magazine|
Ben Howard. Make a mental note of that name. I really do believe that this guy is destined for much bigger things. The 23 year old from Devon is starting to cause a bit of a stir in the industry, with a rapidly increasing fan base. One listen and you'll understand why. His innovative lap guitar style, made famous artists such as Andy McKee, is brilliantly worked in to his songs, adding both melody and percussion. It's not just the guys skills with an axe that impress, it's the voice. Truly his greatest instrument. He switches between the soft and sensitive, to a rough, raw cry with ease. Unfortunately due to his acoustic guitar and link to the surfing community, parallels will instinctively be drawn between him and Jack Johnson, however, I think that this would be a grave injustice to this upcoming star. I can see more similarities in his work to that of Eddie Vedder in his fantastic soundtrack to the film 'Into the Wild'.
Recent tours with Xavier Rudd, Angus and Julia Stone and Jason Mraz has seen the young folk artist playing to larger and wider audiences. Though Ben's sound is hard to pin down to a specific genre, and feels more intrinsically linked to the surroundings it was created in. Not since 'For Emma, For Ever Ago' have I heard songs feel more intimately affected by their environment. You can feel the wild nature of the South English coastline where this young musician resides in the very fibre of his songs.
To listen to his music click here. According to his Myspace they he is 'laying the finishing touches to the debut album in a little barn studio [....] near home so all is gold and good.'. So hopefully we will not have long to wait to hear a full length release from the Devon artist.
In the mean time; get comfortable, tell the dog/friend/brother/sister/wife/husband/*insert noisey influence* to shut up, make the video full screen, and enjoy 4 minutes and 33 seconds of raw talent:
For fans of - The John Butler Trio, Bon Iver, John Martyn