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Ones to Watch in 2012: Ben Howard

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Ones to Watch in 2012: Ben Howard

Ben Howard

Have you heard of Ben Howard?  Until recently, neither had I (although a song of his, "Promise" did appear in an episode of House this season).  Try as I might to remain ahead of the curve when it comes to quality UK music, this talented guy slipped by unseen and unheard.  Hey, it happens! There's just so much good stuff coming out of the UK these days that I can't keep track of it all. Well, as it turns out, now is as good a time as any to do a write up because his album, Every Kingdom, was recently released here in America.  Not only that, but Ben Howard is about ready to embark on a little tour out West (sorry East Coast, we missed our shot).

In listening to his voice, it's unfathomable to me that Ben Howard is a mere 23 years old!  His vocals are so rich and layered, you could swear he's been singing for decades.  His voice has that weathered rasp, oh so reminiscent of one of someone like Ray LaMontagne, perhaps mixed with a little bit of David Gray, a splash of Damien Rice and the vulnerability of José González.  It's Howard's sandpaper-rough vocals, combined with his truly heartfelt, moving lyrics, and breathtaking arrangements that stop you dead in your tracks and command your ear.  Absolutely stunning. What a talent!

Ben Howard Every Kingdom

Hailing from Devon, a large county in southwestern England, Ben Howard is signed to Island Records in the UK (Communion Records here in the States).  He made a splash last year, with the release of his debut album Every Kingdom, which landed at an impressive #7 on the UK Albums Chart.  Lead single, "Old Pine," was released in April 2011, followed by the release of two additional singles ("The Wolves" & "Keep Your Head Up") and finally the album in September. February saw a re-release of "The Wolves," followed by the a new single, "Only Love," which just came out this past week (iTunes UK), accompanied by a FANTASTIC remix from British producer/DJ Roni Size (listen HERE).

The "Only Love" single release was followed by the VEVO premiere of the accompanying music video, directed by Mickey Smith and shot in New York City during a bike ride.  Interspersed within the lovely New York Cityscape is footage from Howard's last Stateside tour (which included a sold out show at New York's prestigious Bowery Ballroom!).  Make sure you check out the video for "Only Love" BELOW.  

Check out a list of U.S. tour dates BELOW and stay tuned, as more dates are expected to be added. Every Kingdom is available everywhere (iTunes US/iTunes UK). Also, check out this interesting interview Ben Howard gave to UK newspaper The Guardian, where he talked about his first U.S. tour.

Tour Dates:

May 26-28 - Sasquatch! Music Festival! - George, WA
May 29 - Wonder Ballroom - Portland, OR
May 31 - The Independent - San Francisco, CA (SOLD OUT)
June 01 - SOHO Restaurant & Music Club - Santa Barbara, CA
June 02 - The Loft @ UCSD, La Jolla, CA (SOLD OUT)
June 05 - Troubadour - Los Angeles, CA (SOLD OUT)
June 06 - Troubadour - Los Angeles, CA (SOLD OUT)
June 07 - Bonnaroo Music Festival, Manchester, TN

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