There's a lot of reasons to like Ben Rector. First off, he makes damn good music. Second, the Oklahoma native provides eye candy to match his um, ear candy? And finally, he's just an all-around nice and funny dude. Case in point: he calls his tour "the Ben Rectour," and you can purchase a "Rectour" T-Shirt. Still not sold? He just Tweeted this: "If I had a dog I would try my best to get it to wear sunglasses." Let's hope he gets one, and Instagrams the evidence right away. But let's not deal with "what ifs" since there's so many absolutes surrounding the singer/songwriter.
Rector is an emerging pop star with a strong following since he released his first album over two years ago. His songs have already been heard on everything from ESPN SportsCenter to One Tree Hill, and his third album The Walking In Between dropped last week with as much fanfare as an April Matt Harvey fastball to the backstop. In other words, the album's already a smash, having climbed onto multiple iTunes charts almost instantly. At an A-Sides session filmed at the Music Conservatory of Westchester last week, Rector performed a pair of tracks and sat down for a barefoot chat. Watch "Making Money" here, and check out "Life Keeps Moving On" and the interview below. Watch. Listen. Love.
Halley's Comet is visible from Earth every 75 or so years. I recall back in the 1980s, I saw it and didn't understand what the fuss was about. I guess that was my loss, but at least it's paid off in the segue department. While we're on the subject of celestial objects, I'd like to introduce you to the British band Little Comets, a band consisting of brothers Robert and Michael Cole along with pal Matthew Hall.
The trio just dropped their U.S. debut "Life is Elsewhere" but it's actually their sophomore album. Have a listen, and you'll find there's nothing sophomoric - just a collection of well-written, deeply-felt melodies. En route from Denver to Portland, the Comets stopped off the side of the road to perform "Jennifer" for A-Sides. Watch it below followed by a brief Q&A with Robert Cole. Enjoy it like a Conehead enjoys a sandwich below...
Your lyrics on this album seem to come from an honest place. The listener can pick up on that right away...
It was a very different proposition to the first album...a lot of which was written in rehearsal room with our old drummer present. There wasn't much fluidity to the process as every little nuance had to be explained. It was accepted practice to base every song around a simple rhythmic foundation and build from there.
For Life is Elsewhereit was simply me and Mickey in a room. We merged the writing and production parts of the process so the songs developed in a more considered way - we felt boundless and not limited by time or other constraints.
Where is life? Define "elsewhere."
Both me and Mickey are now fathers, which is simply amazing. Living through the last couple of years, helping our partners through pregnancies and now seeing the daily development of our babies and learning about parenthood kind of puts life into total perspective. We like to write songs, it's a lovely form of expression but the depth of emotion just isn't comparable.
I read a book called "Immortality" when I was a little younger. One of the strands was about leaving enough of a mark on the world to sustain your being through memories - to write an indelible message into history. Fatherhood has led me to the conclusion that this just isn't important. Life is a pretty fragile thing, you get reminders of this everyday. For us, our focus needs to be where our hearts are, where our home is. We strive to get the balance correct.
Name three bands you sound like, then dispute the need for comparison in blog posts such as this.
I suppose we sound like lots of bands but I wouldn't attempt to condense that down to three. I think our music is just a product of everything we've experienced in life - people, places, conversations, songs, stories, incidents, accidents, hints and allegations. No doubt we will end up reinterpreting these within our songs.
That deals with the first part.... as for disputing the need for comparisons, I don't really mind - go for it. If someone chooses to describe a band via the use of comparisons then that's fine. It's not what I'd do but I'm not going to launch a tirade about it :) As a tool I suppose it could be a useful addendum to an article in order to act as a reference point for a listener, but then if you're going to do that you might as well just add a link to a song by the band you've just written about...
Lastly, describe the bond between the three of you. I mean two of you are brothers, but... are you guys one big happy family?
Well... we formed after college so (hopefully) we got that out of our systems. What I love about being in a band with Matt and Mickey is that we have a very open and honest relationship with each other. We'd never say it out loud but we are a family. There's a lot of love and appreciation for each other that doesn't get voiced - but it doesn't always need to, our actions are more important.... The fact that we've been working together for seven years without major trauma speaks volumes. I highly value their work ethic, commitment, belief and honesty. Along with our matriarchal tour manager Steve, we are a lovely little community.Coming soon
— Jon Chattman (@AsidesMusic) August 28, 2013
About A-Sides Music
Jon Chattman's "A-Sides Music" series usually features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I'm hoping this is refreshing.