Ladies & Gentlemen - Ben Maggs
We have been big fans of our next LCM featured artist award-wining Gloucestershire singer-songwriter Ben Maggs for a while now. Ben is a real force of nature. There’s a raw honesty and naturalness to his songs and his delivery. He’s a generous open-hearted performer, exciting, moving, uplifting and inspiring. Every precious word is expressed with resonant clarity, as free as the flying feathers that decorate his guitars. Our LCM #TrackOfTheDay is a live version of the very catchy 'Ladies & Gentlemen' complete with audience participation.
Natural vocal talent was apparent at a young age, as was Ben’s love of his little red toy guitar. There were brief flirtations with violin and saxophone, but once in possession of a ‘grown up’ guitar he never looked back. Thank goodness for first love, because this man and a guitar is a marriage made in heaven. By his late teens, Ben was lead singer and writer with 'Solace', a band that quickly secured a deal with Rip Curl. Philosophy studies at Warwick didn’t temper his commitment, but momentum was lost when two members of the band decided to leave. Priorities shifted and dreams of a music career all but dissolved into the concept of a more ‘sensible’ future. And so it was, for a while. With lyrical poetry and melodies coursing through his veins, it was only a matter of time before Ben was overwhelmed by his own nature. Many cajoled and encouraged, but it was through a series of challenging and tragic circumstances that Ben wrote and performed again. New songs flowed powerfully through him, carrying him back into regular public performance. This bear’s winter was over and so was his ‘sensible’ job.
Ben recorded his first EP “Let in the Light” in 2011, receiving critical acclaim and winning awards for his then signature song “New York”. The EP reflected his experience of a deeply transformative period and allowed Ben to explore his musical style, subsequently discovering a more natural expression of his craft. There’s nothing fixed about Ben, there’s a journey and an evolution in every breath.
His album “Come As You Are” released in late 2015 sings of this evolution, his voice ringing truer and clearer than ever. Ben’s unique style, lyrics and melodies brilliantly reflect life’s journey, infused with the heartbeat of the natural and concrete world, and the many good folk met along the way.
The album draws especially on Ben’s experiences and adventures around the British Isles – the dramatic wilderness coastline of the Western Highlands and Islands of Scotland, his Grandfather’s Welsh homeland and also his native Cotswolds.
Audiences are enrapt by his evocative vocals and melodic lyricism, the energetic “nothing held back” visceral nature of his performance and engaging inter-song storytelling, all carried exquisitely by resonant acoustic guitar. Festival and event organisers, audiences and fellow musicians alike describe Ben’s performances as “mesmerising”, commenting on how he “holds the audience in the palm of his hands”. You can expect nothing less than the full and free expression of the heart and soul of this talented troubadour, live or recorded.
The genre? Sometimes I want to say contemporary folk, or folk pop, or reference the troubadours of the 70’s, but this music is new. There really is something here for everyone. Really the music is just Ben Maggs, it’s not like anything else. Ben’s music is authentic and unique – as brilliantly expressed by an artistic admirer he is “The Inimitable Mr Maggs”.