Ben Glover Q And Q

18 07 2012

Here’s a reprint of a Q and A I did with Ben Glover that ran in the Big List a few months ago.

Ben Glover

Continuing our catch-up with some of the music scene’s latest and greatest acts, this month we meet Glenarm-born talented tunesmith Ben Glover ahead of the release of his fourth album ‘Do We Burn The Boats?’ Enjoy.

Hi Ben and welcome to the Big List. This summer your new record ‘Do We Burn The Boats?’ comes out. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

“Howdy Big List! The new record was recorded in Mr Lemon’s Studio in Nashville. I went into the studio with the intention of recording four or five songs for an EP, but after a few days in I felt that there was a momentum happening that I couldn’t ignore. So we ditched the EP idea and went full steam ahead for an album. I had written about thirty new songs in the past year so the material was there, it was just a matter of feeling out what songs sat well together. It was recorded and mixed in two weeks, so it all happened very quickly and organically. It’s a bit of a blur actually!”


The new LP sees you re-team once again with producer Neilson Hubbard. What is it about working with Neilson that you enjoy so much?

“This is the third album I’ve worked with Neilson on and I feel very lucky to have made this connection with him. We’ve recorded an album a year for the past three years, so we know how each other works in the studio and we have a great level of trust, which I believe is vital in a relationship with a producer. The emphasis with Neilson in the studio is on the feel and emotional impact of the performance, rather than say, trying to get the technically perfect drum sound. Working with him is always very organic and honest. We are close friends so asides from musical reasons it’s great to be able to work with your mate.”


Personally, I’m hearing a strong Tom Petty influence on the record this time around, particularly on ‘Memo.’ Would you agree?

“You can make Tom Petty comparisons all day long and I won’t dare complain! Petty is certainly an influence. If you’re a singer-songwriter it’s near impossible not to be affected by him. With ‘Memo’ we didn’t have any pre-conceived musical direction; that definitely was a song that came to life in the studio. The production brought an awful lot to that track and interestingly it’s one that seems to be connecting with listeners. If we somehow channeled Tom then we must have been doing something right.”


Album closer ‘Rampart Street’ in particular is a really beautiful song. Can you tell us a little about how it was made?

“I wrote it with the great Mary Gauthier, who is one of my favourite artists/writers. It was inspired by a story both of us had read about teenage gun crime in New Orleans and “Rampart Street” is in that city. We worked hard to make sure that we made a very specific theme somewhat universal, so I think the sentiment is relatable without having to know the background of the song. We must’ve re-written that song four times before we felt we got it right. This track is one my favourite pieces of music that I’ve recorded. It’s pretty dark, but I think by end of the song we have captured some hope. The beautiful violin played by Tania Elizabeth adds so much to it too.”


‘Do We Burn The Boats?’ is your fourth record. In what ways do you feel it differs from your earlier albums?

“I feel in many ways it is lighter, there’s more tempo and the production is edgier. I didn’t want to be so precious about the recording process this time round, meaning I didn’t want over think things too much in the studio. This gave us more freedom to try new things in the studio and I think that can be heard on the record.”


I understand the opening track [‘Whatever Happens Will’] is set to feature in the new film Finding Joy. Is soundtrack work something you’d like to get more involved with? Your songs have a very cinematic feel-in the sense that they also tell stories.

“Finding Joy is being released in cinemas in the US in June so I’m excited about it being my first placement. Film and TV soundtracks is definitely a focus of mine and something I want to get much more involved in. I was in Los Angeles in May for a showcase with twenty film/TV music supervisors and it was great to have the opportunity to perform and pitch my songs to them. The sound of my records seems to be favourable with the supervisors, so we’re getting lots of interest from the TV/film world on the back of the LA showcase.”


You split your time between Nashville and Belfast. Do you ever see a time when you’ll make the move to Nashville permanently?

“At the moment I spend about eight months of the year in Nashville, so it feels very much like a home to me. It’s a great place to be based in for the US as it’s accessible and relatively central.  It feels as if naturally Nashville is becoming more of my permanent base, but I’m still lucky in that I get to spend time and work both sides of the Atlantic, so in many ways it is the best both worlds.”


Finally Ben, you’ve a pretty extensive tour of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland coming up. Are there any shows you’re especially looking forward to and do you feel it’s important to keep gigging at home as well as further afield?

“June is certainly busy on the touring front here. I’m looking forward to all the shows, particularly two nights in No Alibis in Belfast on June 8 and 9. I’ve also got some ‘in-the-round’ gigs coming up with Bap Kennedy and Anthony Toner and it will be great to share the stage with two of NI’s finest. Gigging at home is vital for me and although it’s great to tour and travel, it has to be said that playing at home is hard to beat.”


For more info on Ben Glover, including tour dates etc, check out

News From The North 101

25 05 2012

Here’s a reprint of a recent NI music column that runs in Hot Press every fortnight.


Words: Edwin McFee

While at the time of writing it may indeed be colder than a witch’s naughty bits, I’ve been reliably informed that Spring has most definitely, um, sprung, and with the news that summer is on the way it’s perhaps not surprising that many of NI’s festivals have started making some interesting rumblings recently. One of this year’s heavy hitters is most certainly the Sunflower Fest and their bill for 2012 helps make the bash one of the north’s potential best in the country. Taking place at Tubby’s Farm (just outside Hillsborough and about 20 minutes from Belfast) the three day event runs from August 17-19 inclusive and will feature four stages (the Finn McCool main stage, the Campfire Stage, the Barn and the brand new addition to the shin-dig that is the intriguingly titled Electric Disco Shed) a family area, a cinema tent and various other exciting spectacles too.


However, while the booking of the likes of the well regarded wordsmith that is Scroobius Pip and popular Free Staters Republic of Loose are undoubted aces up the organiser’s sleeve, it’s the NI acts that interest us the most and Sunflower Fest has assembled a great mix of artists from all walks of life. Some of the must see turns include Ben Glover, Fighting with Wire, Duke Special, Nasa Assassin, Lanterns on the Lake, the Bonnevilles, Boss Sound Manifesto and many, many more and the full list can be viewed at Weekend camping tickets are now onsale for £49 via the Belfast Welcome Centre (as well as other approved outlets) and for a full list check out their official site.


Next up, it looks like Stendhal Festival are putting together a pretty stellar bill too. Taking place on Aug 17-18 at the Ballymully Cottage Farm in Limavady, the initial announcement includes Silhouette, the Gorgeous Colours, Axis Of, Furlo, Paddy Nash and the Happy Enchiladas, the Innisowen Gospel Choir and Wookalily and more will be confirmed as the months progress. For further details on the event, including tickets details, check out


Finally this fortnight, by the time you get your grubby mitts on this latest issue, Belfast-based singer/songwriter Michael Kerr will have unleashed his new EP The Australia Fund out into the wild. Influenced by classic tunesmiths such as Tom Petty, Cat Stevens and Van Morrison, the talented troubadour has been making all the right tongues wag of late and you can find out more info on him via his website