Ben Sands,
"Live" in Berlin
(independent, 2015)

Ben Sands shows the internationality of good folk music while encouraging his audience to sing along on "Among Friends Again," and you get the feeling that he really is among friends. This album, which captures a portion of his concert at the Meistersaal im Borsigtrum, Berlin, on March 2, 2013, allows you to count yourself among them.

Even for an audience of one supposes generally German-speaking listeners, he enthralls them with songs like "Back on the Diet" and his autobiographical pieces such as "Good to Be Home," on which he recalls his youth of school and farm work. His beautiful "Take My Love With You" is retitled "Kellie's Song" in the credits, but by either title it will bring a tear to every father's eye.

I have a particular connection for "The Hug," dating back to a time when I had my own radio series and was struck by a beautiful letter from a mother who told me how her autistic son reacted to the song and the hug. Once again Sands had struck that universal truth that the more local and personal a piece is the more likely it is to strike a universal chord.

He shows his instrumental virtuosity on guitar with "Guitar Jig" and later on whistle with "Whistle Tunes."

Being a German concert he naturally includes the beautifully written "In Berlin." While he is a wonderful writer Sands is not shy about giving his unique rendition of other people's work, and this is done to excellent effect on Kate Wolf's "Green Eyes." He gets almost 8 minutes out of "Gypsy Rover" with some lovely audience participation. He ends what must have been a wonderful concert with "Summer Time is Coming."

This is a live performance recording as it should be -- but only can be done by a consummate professional.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
Nicky Rossiter

22 August 2015

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