Ben Rabb EP review…September 10, 2014…





Ben Rabb grew up in the Midwest, listening to his sister’s folk music collection.  He moved to St. Louis seeking work after graduation, but soon began a city-to-city trek that would eventually land him in New York by his mid-twenties, his stories from that trip filling what would soon become his own repertoire.

Once in NYC, he embraced the Writer’s Nights and “in-the-rounds,” and fit right in.  However, he found the city to be in a constant state of flux.  His latest EP, “Until It’s Gone,” reflects that, as well as his struggles with the “should I stay or should I go?” question.

Ben is a classic fingerpicker with a rich, warm vocal style.  Over the course of the six originals and twenty-three minutes of this set, he exposes some of his most personal feelings and shares them with us.  The opening cut finds him recalling a youth where he “could never stay too long in one place,” but now as maturity sets in, he realizes that love is “two broken hearts On The Fence.”  Eric Law’s cello embellishes “New York,” while “Here Right Now” fnds Ben encouraging a lover to take that “leap of faith,” in the name of love.  “Bill” paints a portrait of a “simple, solemn man,” who’s motto has always been “what’s wrong with wonderin, as long as the ground’s planted under your feet.”

Perhaps the most powerful cut is the closing “Take My Hand,” written after seeing a news account of the Syrian civil war.  It puts a somber spin on “news linked to a world watching pain” and a place where “it’s been three years since the kids went to school.”  He really reaches out in this one, longing for compassion and perhaps some common sense from those who believe that war is the only answer.

Ben Rabb has that rare storyteller’s gift of being able to adapt his own experiences as well as those of others into concise, snapshot-like moments in time that bring listeners into his realm.  “New York” begs to be heard—and to be longer.  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow,  The Nashville Blues Society.

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