Ben Hall – Ben Hall!
Every Monday morning, I post a review on an attention-grabbing album submitted via ReviewShine, and this week I’ve had the privilege to review Ben Hall’s debut album, Ben Hall!.
Guitarist Ben Hall is a native of Okolona, Mississippi. His Merle-Travis-style of guitar playing has won many awards as well as the attention of country legend Charlie Louvin. The fist time Charlie Louvin met Hall he asked, “When can you go to work with me?” Hall replied that he couldn’t, he was studying music at Belmont University to which a slightly annoyed Louvin said, “You don’t need to be in school, you are meant to be playing that guitar.”
Hall reunited with Louvin at his 80th birthday and was asked to play with Louvin that night, and then on the Grand Ole Opry, and later on tour. Now, on March 29th, Ben Hall will release his debut album, Ben Hall!, via Tompkins Square. The record showcases his amazing guitar skills on classic country songs by Merle Travis, The Louvin Brothers, Roger Miller, Woody Gutherie, and J.D. Loudermilk as well as one original track.
On Ben Hall!, Hall is backed by drums and bass, but his distinct thumbstyle playing is front-and-center throughout. He uses a method named for Merle Travis where the thumb plucks the bass maintaining rhythm while the remaining fingers pick out the harmony and melody. And, this eleven-song collection is a wonderful homage to Travis and his other major influence, Chet Atkins. Each track with its retro sound transports the listener back to the gloden days of country. Produced by Eric “Roscoe” Ambel (Ryan Adams, Freedy Johnston) and recorded with vintage analog equipment, Hall has created a flawless album that is delightful, nostalgic, and timeless. Ben Hall! definitely gives the listener the impression that Ben Hall belongs to another era, but as fate would have it, he was destined to bring the great sound of classic country to another generation.
— April Wolfe @ Common Folk Music