When: Thu., Sept. 27 2012
BEN SOLLEE This week finds not one, but two folk-rock instrumental virtuosos in town. Kentucky cellist Sollee and Illinois violinist Andrew Bird (see lead music story) have toured together, and their classical training informs their pop music. Both also make full use of their instruments by exploiting their melodic and percussive attributes, and both play other instruments. But the results are distinct. Sollee wears his folk, blues, country and soul roots — especially his vocal phrasing and the accompanying horn sections on 2010’s Inclusions — more openly (not to mention his emotions and pro-environmental politics). He offsets those on occasion by venturing into atonal territory, but his folk-pop comes off rather run-of-the-mill and not particularly memorable. Sollee’s at his most effective when he taps into the expressive timbre of the cello alone, à la Arthur Russell, or blends in those Stax soul blues. He’s got a new record, Half-Made Man, set to drop and funded through Pledgemusic.com. Let’s hope the latter elements inform this release more.