Let's over-simplify it for the moment; in rock and roll, you've got the old school and the new school. Everybody knows the old school to some extent: The Beatles, Dylan, The Stones, Zeppelin, Pink Floyd. And the new school, thanks to rock radio, muzack, and television commercials, is generally understood and pretty much unavoidable. Let critics and scholars argue about it all you want, but Ben Abney's mind is made up: let today's visionaries learn from the old school.
And so it goes, on this, his independantly-released debut LP. It unfolds like a playlist from an old FM radio station, splattering some of the Beach Boys' polish around the Fab Four's panache, sinking into grooves carved decades ago by The Band and Tom Petty. There's no magic tricks here; from vocals to production, what you see is what you get. Ben Abney delivers his songs in a boy-next-door baritone, and his chosen recordists deliver the goods with the loving precision of classic rock devotees who at least remember what tape sounds like in an age where records are made in ones and zeroes.
Ben Abney's working hard to relive the values of the old school in the age of the new, and careful listeners will hear Wilco and The Flaming Lips lurking beneath the surface. His music is a conversation, sure enough, not just between himself and the listener, but between the future and the not-too-distant past.
-Christopher Leonard, Nashville, TN