The Hollow Sessions, by folk singer, cellist and composer Ben Sollee, is a refreshing stroll from the fast-paced music that floods the airwaves every day.
The Kentuckian‘s voice could be compared with Ray LaMontagne’s, or maybe a rough-hewn Ben Folds. It is painfully honest and organic. The songs are beautifully pared down to the bones, so that each instrument is allowed to shine.
NPR named him one of the top 10 unknown artists of the year. His first EP, “If You’re Gonna Lead My Country,” was released in 2008. He’s played with My Morning Jacket, as well as solo, at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2011. Sollee is also known for his political activism with a focus on coal-mining issues.
Sollee’s sound is introspective and extremely personal, with sometimes just vocals and acoustic guitar. The abundant cellos is at times foreboding and sad, but also lends a classic touch.
The opener to the “Hollow Sessions,” “I Couldn’t Say It To Your Face,” is an immediate hook in. You’re transported, porch swing at the ready, the sound of crickets and a warm summer evening a constant gossamer. He compares himself to a lowly piece of metal in the romantic “Just a Little Tack,” as he professes his love. You can practically see him tip his straw-brimmed hat. Tom Waits has been done justice with Sollee’s blues-tinged “Chocolate Jesus.” The album also includes other tracks originally performed by artists like Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon, Fiona Apple and The Zombies.
“The Hollow Sessions” has a romantic, heady air about it. Sollee is there to set the table for you— complete with couples at quaint wooden tables. If you let him, Ben Sollee will stand alone at the front of the dimly lit room and serenade only you.
You can download it for free here through NoiseTrade.
Dig it or Ditch it: Dig It.