Ben Cooley Hall

Ben Cooley Hall

BandRockSinger/Songwriter

Ben Cooley Hall's music, sometimes sparsely arranged and occasionally lush, distills real life into catchy, melodic capsules that are refreshingly unpretentious. He gives his listeners the benefit of his trust and honesty while keeping an appealing sense of lightness and humor.

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Biography

I grew up in a suburb of Boston, singing and playing violin from an early age. I picked up the guitar in college, then moved to Bozeman, Montana, where I joined some other musicians to form an indie-pop quartet called Birdbody Hank. I played bass. We were privileged to open for some terrific national touring acts, including Band of Susans and the Loud Family. Later, after I moved back to Massachusetts, I recorded a 3-song demo at Zippah Studios (1999). I shared it with the staff of [the now legendary] Hi-Fi Records, my local record store, and Deb Klein, the owner, was interested enough to begin collaborating with me. We soon co-founded The Mary Reillys. I wrote, sang, and played guitar, and Deb sang harmony and played bass and guitar. Keira Flynn-Carson later joined on drums. The Reillys won a small following in the Boston indie circuit, and recorded one EP (Sock Is The New Rock, 2001) and one LP (untitled, not yet released). We suspended our active bandhood when Klein relocated to New York in late 2003, but we reunite to play every year or two.
I moved to Providence in 2002, and have been based here ever since. In 2008, I began recording and performing solo. My sound reflects influences ranging from the Velvet Underground to Gram Parsons to Big Star to the Pixies. My first solo LP, Owning Up To A Life, was released in 2009. After playing regionally and touring the Pacific Northwest as a solo artist, I went on hiatus from performing and recording in order to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. I am excited to record more material both new and old, but it will take some time.

Lyrics

Untrue

Written By: Ben Cooley Hall

I know that I've been untrue.
Look out, it could happen to you.
You think you're OK
when you're slippin' away
'til there's nothing else left you can do.

I started out when I was small,
not knowing how far I could fall.
I thought to be free
was to always agree,
'til I had no conviction at all.

Others might never have known.
It seemed like my words were my own.
And maybe they were,
but it's hard to be sure
when your heart is as hard as a stone.

Some say: a single straw breaks you.
But, over time, a slow process wakes you,
until you can open your eyes
and see how much you've diminished,
and know that you are probably finished
unless you start saying what's true--
not for other people, for you--
and then decide what you will do.

(Bridge background choir lyrics:
Some say that it's the straw.
But wait, it's been a long time now.
That you've been lying down.
Now will you stand up?)

I'm lucky I didn't die.
Or maybe I did, and that's why
I've come to know
that wherever I go,
it's my own gut I have to live by.
Sometimes I do,
and some others slip through.
It's called living;
I'll give it a try.

Ginger Ale

Written By: Ben Cooley Hall

Life is beautiful;
it makes me cry.
Thanks to you,
I also smile.

You are dear.
I was scared.
And here we are.
I thank everything!

Won't you be my Ginger Ale?
Won't you be my whole world?
And we'll wake with the sun,
and make something new,
not alone.

Last night you woke me;
I held you in my arms.
In your need you gave me
a gift so sweet.

The more I open
to receive your love,
I learn that I am good enough
to love you as I am.

Won't you be my Ginger Ale?
Won't you be my whole world?
And we'll wake with the sun,
and make something new,
not alone.

Everything, everything, everything!
Love, love, love!
You, you, you, you!
Me, me, we!

Won't you be my Ginger Ale?
Won't you be my whole world?
And we'll wake with the sun,
and make something new,
not alone.

After the Fall

Written By: Ben Cooley Hall

Why does the rain fall down?
Does it linger as it tumbles to the ground?
Does it try to hang on,
scream out before it's gone--
oh, why does the rain fall down?

How is the sky so tall?
Do you know the feeling just before you fall?
It feels different when it's you,
hovering blue--
oh, how is the sky so tall?

What does it take to be free?
Does a heart once broken break more easily?
Can you see your way clear?
Can you forgive yourself your fear?
Oh, what does it take to be free?

Love, love, love, love, love!
Love, love, love, love!
Pain, pain, pain,
and mercy is your name--
oh, love, love, love, love!

Love, love, love, love, love.

Compromise

Written By: Ben Cooley Hall

Compromise
tells me that I haven't died
tells me that you, too, are alive

If I cry
don't mean you must take my side
might mean it's time I should rise

Ah-oo
I could be falling away
Somebody calls me, I answer quite slowly
ah-oo

Oh, compromise
Look at me, show me your eyes
This is the time to speak loud,
and dare to stay

in that land
where we are not quite hand-in-hand
until we speak from where we stand

Ah-oo
We could be falling away
Throwing some fuel on the fire
Ah-oo
Waking up
today

Oh, compromise
Compromise, compromise, compromise, compromise
Oh, compromise

Lot More Coming

Written By: Ben Cooley Hall

Sit you down and listen here
It's a price that's far too dear
to make people near you think you agree

Saying yes when you mean no
over time will make you blow
but there are easier ways for you to get free

Don't you realize the pain
you're gonna walk into again
each time you deny
what you know inside
Baby, there's a lot more coming

Think about your good friend Steve
whom you consulted about needs
and what keeps you from acknowledging yours

You said the fear, you said the rage
You said you learned at a young age
Now turn the page, and settle those scores

Don't you realize the pain
you're gonna walk into again
each time you deny
what you know inside
Baby, there's a lot more coming

Baby, I love you--baby, I do
Baby, could you love you too
Baby, that is what I hope for you
The one whose love you need the most is you
'cause baby, there's a lot more coming
Baby, there's a lot more coming

Discography

Sock Is The New Rock EP, 2001 (with The Mary Reillys)
Untitled, not-yet-released full-length LP, 2003-? (with The Mary Reillys)
Owning Up To A Life, 2009 (April)

Set List

My typical set is 40-50 minutes long, containing about 10-12 songs. I can adjust set times to work well in a particular bill, venue, or festival.