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Ben Bedford - Land of the Shadows

Land of the Shadows

Ben Bedford

Hopeful Sky Records - HSR202

Available from Village Records.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

You may already have heard Ben Bedford. He's firmly caught the attention of folk DJs and managed to rapidly climb to a #1 spot on the folk charts. Small wonder, given the quality and soul of the cuts showcased here. Land of Shadows speaks to the human condition in its history, and a glance at the track titles below gives a good indication of the subject of many of the songs. The struggle of man against straw bosses and elder corporations is a main factor in the Bradford's thought and work, but so is the unbound uplifted condition of the human spirit.

The composer and player is also a singer possessing a smooth and easy voice but one that's also confident and strong, occasionally tinged with grit (as in You're the Weather and elsewhere), a tone well backed by a folky-rootsy band. Fisher's Hill is a rockin' cut, mellowly so but energetic nonetheless, a tale of the Civil War and pitched battle. Amelia likewise has its own propulsive current and may just remind you a bit of Plainsong's old In Search of Amelia Earheart, being on the same subject and in the same vein.

This is only the composer-player's second CD, the first being Lincoln's Man, but it sounds like his tenth and is solid solid solid in every aspect. Lincoln's Man climbed as a full release to #8 on the Folk charts in '08, this should top it in '09/'10. Don't for a second think folk is dead or dying; CDs like Land of Shadows show it was only catching its breath, waiting for guys like Ben Bedford to show up.

Track List:

  • Twenty One
  • The Cherry Mine
  • You're the Weather
  • The Sangamon
  • Mother Jones on the Line
  • Ten Paces (Chas Williams)
  • Amelia
  • Land of the Shadows (for Emmett Till) (Bradford / Abate)
  • One Night at a Time
  • Fisher's Hill
  • As Long as Your Eyes are Blue (Patterson / Bradford)
All songs written by Ben Bedford except as noted.

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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