Things are really beginning to gear up here in 2013. Most immediately, we’re heading out to the “in-famous” (quote: Three Amigos) SXSW Festival in Austin, TX. But, we can’t just go from 0 to 60 in a day. So, we’ve booked a few tiny “pop-up shows” THIS WEEK around Kentucky to warm-up for the event. These mini-concerts will feature a lot of the music from the latest record, Half-Made Man, with my trusty musical companion, the eight-armed Jordon Ellis on percussion. I know it’s last minute, but if you can make it, these will be a lot of fun. Here’s the scoop:
Looking back for a moment, thanks to everyone who attended December’s show at the Lexington Opera House. Your support helped to generate nearly $10,000 in donations to Institute 193 so they can keep doing their good work in Kentucky. Remember that night? A packed house, massive shadow puppets, the stunning Anna + Elizabeth, etc… Well, if your memory is a little foggy or you weren’t able to be there, check out this beautiful video by Institute 193 documenting the show.
In other news, I’m thrilled to be heading out in support of Over the Rhine in April. If you live in the eastern side of the country we’re probably coming somewhere near you. Check out the tour dates on the website. There you can also get info on all the upcoming events this spring and summer.
As always, I’m so grateful for your support and enthusiasm… you’re the best!
Institute 193 presents Ben Sollee at Lexington Opera House Dec 19
Institute 193 is proud to present the Kentucky cellist and singer Ben Sollee in concert at the Lexington Opera House on December 19, 2012 at 8 PM. All proceeds from the performance will go to further the mission of Institute 193: advancing the careers of contemporary Southern artists and enriching the cultural landscape of central Kentucky.
Institute 193 was founded in 2009. Since then, it has staged 17 exhibitions in its Lexington, KY gallery space and produced 9 publications. Institute 193 has also organized exhibitions by innovative Southern artists in Dallas, TX; Atlanta, GA; and Paris, France.
“I’m so proud to be a Kentuckian and feel so grateful to get to work with Institute 193 to continually showcase the very best of what this state has to offer in the arts,” says Sollee. “Institute 193 is serving as an antenna to the rest of the world for access to great contemporary art from the south.”
A classically trained cellist and accomplished vocalist, Sollee’s music has been featured on CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and the Boston Globe. Sollee has also gained a reputation for social engagement: touring by bicycle, raising awareness about mountain top removal coal mining in Appalachia, and engaging with local organizations, such as Institute 193. This concert celebrates the release of Sollee’s new record, Half-Made Man, and will be Sollee’s homecoming performance in a nationwide tour.
Folk singers Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle will open for Sollee and his band.
Cellist-songwriter-cyclist-activist Ben Sollee is no stranger to speaking his mind, so two weeks ago, he climbed the steps of Washington, DC’s Lincoln Memorial, sat down with his cello and sang. The act, filmed by Mason Jar Music, was a call to action for US citizens to get out and vote. Now, as we reflect on the effects of superstorm Hurricane Sandy, and look towards the November 6th Presidential Election, Ben’s plea, for “A Few Honest Words” could not come at a more poignant time.
“Like nearly everyone,” explains Ben, “my attention this week has been focused on Sandy and all of her devastating effects on communities along the east coast. There are so many people dealing with fundamental challenges in their lives at this moment: food, shelter, clean water, etc. These are things that are not debatable or points of policy; they are human needs. And as the country inevitably shifts it’s gaze back to the final stretch of the election, I’m hoping we can keep the human-to-human conversation going. That’s what we truly need to sort through natural disasters, healthcare policy, education, or anything as a country. We are too often willing to sacrifice honest, sincere discussion for winning and losing teams. And everyone’s voice is important! Performing in the Lincoln Memorial was my way of expressing that desire. And, I still have the knot in my stomach to prove how intimidating it can be to speak out. So, please, if you only do one thing on Tuesday, VOTE!”
Wowy, wow, wow, wow! Ben, along with Jordon Ellis and Luke Reynolds, have been killing it this tour! You may have heard that the cops shut down the show in Indianapolis at the Broad Ripple Music Fest, but they may have had more success if they would have called the fire department. Because the cello was on fire!! Those of you lucky enough to have been a part of the final song, Built For This, let it be known that your participation is spot on! For those who weren’t there, at least technology saved the day and there video proof. Check out this magic….
Now, if you are hoping to catch one of Ben’s live shows, check out the Tour calendar! He will be in Philadelphia, Boston, Fairfield, CT, and Washington, DC this week. Then in November, he goes a little further. I’m talking to you, Texas, Arizona, Utah, California, Washington, Oregon and Colorado! And even if you don’t live in those areas, you probably have friends who do. So, be a good friend and share the music! We love you guys and appreciate everything you have done to make this tour so awesome! We can always use help in getting the word out about shows, so if you are interested in sharing, then shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. ~Jessica, Team Sollee
We made it! It’s release week for the new record, Half-Made Man. I feel like we’ve been building a ship in a dry dock and now, with all the pieces and parts in place, we’re pushing it in to the water. With radio stations adding the music to their playlists, blogs and other media reviewing, and CNN featuring it on TV there’s a lot to get excited about. Personally, I’m most enthusiastic about your support. This project would not even exist without your funding through Pledge Music!
We’re celebrating the release with a new show and a national tour featuring, as always, the hyper-versatile percussionist Jordon Ellis as well as the multi-insturmentalist Luke Reynolds. It’s a big leap forward for us but we believe in the music and you, the audience. Unfortunately, we won’t be on our bikes for this tour but we’re encouraging folks to get to the show in healthier ways. For those of you that ride your bike, walk, or take public transit to the shows you’ll be greeted at the door by a $5 voucher to the merch table. Spread the word if you find that exciting. There will even be bike valet at some of the shows
As we grow, please know that you’re the reason. This project is another opportunity to share the Sollee story with family, friends, and local businesses. If you get inspired, spread the word on your various Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. Have fun with it and let folks know in your own way. Here’s the link to iTunes if you want to send them directly to the music: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/half-made-man/id556347983
We are gonna keep the good times rollin’ today! You won’t be able to get your hands on a copy of Half-Made Man until Tuesday Sept 25 (unless you are one of the lucky ones who will see Ben live between now and then), but you can listen to the entire album on Rdio.com RIGHT NOW!! How do you like that?! Happy Friday.
We have gotten so many requests for tour stops from cities outside the east coast and we hope this announcement makes some of you very happy!! In November, Ben will be making the following stops in support of Half-Made Man. For more details, check out the Tour page.
Ben has talked about how challenging it is to be an independent artist and how he tries to surround himself with a strong team that works hard to get his music out to the fans. In fact, many of you joined the team by supporting the PledgeMusic campaign. And that support directly resulted in helping make Half-Made Man everything Ben imagined. In fact, Ben recently talked with Kyle Meredith, of The Weekly Feed, about this exact thing (among other things!). Check out what he says here:
Now we are presenting another opportunity for you to join the Team. Ben has a great Fall tour planned in support of the Sept 25 release of Half-Made Man. But we need help in spreading the word! Don’t you just hate it when you find out a great band has come to town the day after the show?? Save your friends from that heartbreak! Tell them not to miss Ben! We would like to offer you something for helping, too. There are so many ways for you to help — sharing the event, tweeting about it, talking to your special interest groups, letting us know places to hang posters, etc. Please email me at email@example.com for more details.
We are really excited to share the new music with you and hope you are ready to hear it!!