Northern Ramble Concerts presents Ben de la Cour w/Special Guest Campbell Woods in Concert. - Doors 7:30pm, Music 8pm - Cover $20
Campbell Woods released his debut record, "Oxford Street" in the spring of April 2017. He's been on the road ever since, performing everywhere from Vancouver to Halifax to Nashville to Austin. As a songwriter he's been compared to the likes of Townes Van Zandt and John K. Sampson. Powerful songs, simply delivered. "Oxford Street" debuted at no. 4 on the earshot folk/roots radio charts and has been nominated for a Toronto Independent Music Award.
Ben de la Cour
What happens when the unstoppable force of our dreams meets the immovable object of reality? It’s unclear. But Ben de la Cour is hell-bent on trying to find out. Raised in Brooklyn, Ben de la Cour was was playing New York City dive bars with his brother a full decade before he could legally drink. A high-school dropout and former amateur boxer, he received his education by listening to his parent’s record collection – full of everything from Bob Dylan and The Everly Brothers to Lynyrd Skynyrd. At the tender age of nineteen he spent a year in Havana training with members of the Cuban national boxing team before moving to London with his brother to revive their doom metal band, Dead Man’s Root. They lived in a van and toured around Europe for several years until the band fell apart under the two-fisted attack of burnout and drunken brawls, and in 2008 de la Cour returned to the states with a head full of softer, bruised, but no less intense acoustic songs.
Following a short stint in Los Angeles where he released Under A Wasted Moon, which BBC Radio dubbed “brilliant”, de la Cour passed through New Orleans, fell in love and decided to stay. In 2011 Ben de la Cour released Ghost Light, which spotlighted his talent as a songwriter and received rave reviews in No Depression and other publications, with one journalist dubbing him “a vitriolic Leonard Cohen.” However, after a chance meeting with a successful Nashville songwriter in a French Quarter dive bar, de la Cour felt compelled to keep on moving. He recalls, “he made it pretty clear to me that if I was ever going to do anything with songwriting I was going to have to get the hell out of New Orleans. So I did. I guess I’ve always been pretty impressionable that way”.
Once again Ben was on the move, this time winding up in Nashville where he crashed on friends’ couches and worked as a doorman until he found his footing. His third album Midnight in Havana came out in 2016 on Flour Sack Cape Records and was met with critical acclaim from outlets like Red Line Roots, Nashville Scene, No Depression and The Huffington Post. That same year he won the prestigious New Folk Competition at the 2016 Kerrville Folk Festival.
In April of 2018 Ben de la Cour released The High Cost of Living Strange, eight tracks of his self-proclaimed “Americanoir” style – weaving complex, mysterious and sometimes shocking storylines with a unique blend of instrumental backing and the occasional glimpse of gallows humor. Along with his unique perspective towards songwriting and his lyrical attention to detail, de la Cour has a veracious studio ideology; live tracking, minimal overdubs, no headphones, one room, and just a couple of days. “I’m like a bargain basement Cowboy Jack Clement!” he jokes.
The High Cost of Living Strange may seem bleak, but never self-consciously so, and it’s shot through with moments of real beauty. There is also enough humor and hope in all but the darkest moments to tell us what we all need to hear sometimes; it’s okay to be human. At least until a better alternative comes along.