“I wanted it to have a raw, real-time performance quality,” Ben Sollee says of his new album Half-Made Man (September 25). “This is kinetic expression. I dug deep into myself and asked the musicians to go there with me. To my ear, it sounds like musical search party; we often find what we’re looking for in between defined styles and genres." That adventurous attitude seems second nature to the Kentucky-bred, cello-toting singer-songwriter, a musician who has toured with fellow string virtuosos Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck and, at the request of Yim Yames, recorded with My Morning Jacket. Featuring guest turns from Washburn and MMJ's Carl Broemel, Half-Made Man, is busily and blissfully all over the place, skillfully cobbling together elements of folk, bluegrass, jazz, soul and rock into one sprawling, accomplished work. There's an undeniable urgency to songs like the bristling, surprisingly gritty "Unfinished" and "Whole Lot to Give" that extends as well to the more laid back songs like "Slow Down". For an album full of contradictions, Sollee's bold creative approach works remarkably well: Half-Made Man emerges confoundingly mature and fully grown.
Ben Sollee - "Whole Lot to Give" (from Half-Made Man)
Ben Sollee - "Unfinished" (from Half-Made Man)