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The Devonian folk artist, guitarist of note and impeccable singer songwriter Ben Howard is a worthy successor in style to forebears such as Nick Drake and John Martyn. The pride of the West Country was nominated for the 2012 Mercury Prize for his debut album Every Kingdom, partially a collation of his material on the Old Pine EP and subsequently acclaimed singles on Island Records. Ben’s star rose high when he won the Brit Award for British Males Solo Artist and for British Breakthrough Act in 2013. He was rapturously received on the Pyramid Stage at that year’s Glastonbury festival. Indeed the open-air setting is Howard’s natural milieu but he is no slouch in a studio. Second album, I Forgot Where We Were, picks up nicely thanks to a blend of folk, ambient and sonically challenging atmospherics that seep into the listener’s consciousness and don’t go away. That disc reached the very top of the charts.

Ben’s distinctive vocal style is mesmerizing in the higher range, matching lyrics that are startling, often dark and sometimes wildly enigmatic. That will explain his appeal to the European market and it seems that America is next in line to experience his windswept music with an autumn tour following a trip to South Africa, British festivals and an appearance at the famous Rock en Seine event in Paris.

Given his latter-day roots in Falmouth and Torquay it’s worth noting that Ben has collaborated with the O’Neill Company and is active in the Surfers Against Sewage campaign.

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Every Kingdom
Ben Howard - Every Kingdom
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I Forget Where We Were
Ben Howard - I Forget Where We Were
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ALBUM REVIEW - click to view reviewExpand