Ben Kweller Sets Release
The title is meaningful as it represents a sea change for the 27-year-old Texan-bred musician. Beginning with his first record, Sha Sha, released in 2002, Kweller's albums have always been stylistically restless, moving from indie rock to ballads to anti-folk to melodic chug rock, often from song to song. Changing Horses, on the other hand, is of one mind -- a full-blown, straight up country affair, brimming with immaculate pedal steel, twang and multi-part harmonies. It features his touring band -- Chris Morrissey on bass and vocals, and Mark Stepro on drums and vocals -- as well as the brilliant Kitt Kitterman on pedal steel. Like all of Kweller's work, the new album is filled with unforgettable melodies and deeply soulful lyrics that could only come from someone as sensitive to the human spirit as he is.
To make the record, Kweller dug down to his deepest roots. "I grew up bass-fishing, playing in creeks, and shooting BB guns," Kweller says. "Country music was the soundtrack to my life. It's still a big part of who I am. When Garth Brooks or Alan Jackson come on the radio, somethin' happens inside. Brings me back to the trees, back to pushin' cars out of the mud. Reminds me of my hometown."
For Kweller, releasing a country album is the realization of a long-held goal. "I've been working on Horses for years." he says. "I wrote the first song for it when I was 16. Over time, I've collected these songs that fit together and wanted to release them together. I didn't want to try and fit them on my other albums one or two at a time."
On producing the record himself, Kweller says, "I've learned so much from all the great producers I've worked with, from Ethan Johns to Gil Norton, and I just felt it was time for me to go in there and make the album the way I knew I could," he says. "I wanted it to feel really pure and direct. I wanted each instrument to sound exactly like that instrument, with very little treatment or alteration, to give it that natural, warm beauty that I love."
Kweller and his band, who just finished a tour of America, the UK and Europe, have confirmed a North American tour for 2009 to support the release of Changing Horses. The confirmed tour dates are below. A west coast leg of the tour as well more international dates will be announced soon.
16 Omaha, NE Slowdown
17 Minneapolis, MN Varsity Theatre
18 Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall
21 Cleveland, OH Case Western Reserve U
22 Toronto, ONT The Mod Club Theatre
24 Somerville, MA Somerville Theatre
25 New York, NY Town Hall
26 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
27 Philadelphia, PA TLA
28 Pittsburgh, PA Diesel
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