Ben Walker
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Ben Walker

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 1988 | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 1988
Band Pop Folk

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"Ben Walker: Kill or Cure"

Having been on the folk scene in the UK and abroad for over ten years, and having played gigs all over the world, Ben is now based in Bradford, and launched his new CD Kill or Cure in Leeds. With excellent lyrics and a fantastic duet with Kate Peters on the fantastic Hold On To Your Hard Times, this is a brilliant CD.

(With) some fantastic harmonies, great guitar picking and vocal and musical arrangements that are McCartneyesque in parts, with a lyrical bite of Richard Thompson and veering from style to style, this is a stunning album and well worth investigating. - Journal of the Classic Rock Society


"Ben Walker: Kill or Cure"

Ben Walker illustrates his talented skills as a musician as he sings effortlessly on Kill or Cure. Walker also plays piano, electric guitar and bouzouki, all to a high standard, which seems flawless. Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day is a great song to put on every night before you retire for bed, as it unwinds and relaxes you. In a way, after listening to the peaceful song, I felt cleansed from my bad energies. Vocally, Walker has a soothing and calming voice and he knows exactly how to use it to his benefit. I can definitely see a selection of songs such as God gaining airplay on radio stations such as Magic and BBC2 (sic.) Overall this is a fine piece of work Ben has put together with the help of his band. - Maverick Magazine


"Ben Walker: Kill or Cure"

Ben Walker’s sixth album consolidates his reputation as a bit of an underground star. The London-born, West Yorkshire-based songwriter has assembled a stellar bunch of musicians including Derek Nash (Eric Clapton, Jools Holland), whose playing floats above ‘Love in London’, to realize his eclectic mix of pop, rock and jazz.

The melodies are wonderfully engaging, especially ‘Hold On To Your Hard Times’, featuring a strong vocal from Kate Peters, and ‘Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day’, while lyrically we’re into some dark territory. Walker deserves his shot. - R2 Magazine


"Various Artists - Album Round Up"

Idiom, style and musical history are important to all of the releases in this roundup, but to none more than to Gorgeous. To Ben Walker the question of style is one to be asked in respect of every song, in the same way as key and tempo, and one that should be answered with the same technical accuracy. There is a very sophisticated and erudite use of idiom at the centre of his creative practice, and his songs are crafted in thorough, rigorous detail, but they are nevertheless expressive rather than rhetorical. There is a refusal of any attempt to ‘persuade’ the listener, letting each song sink or swim on its own terms in a way that is as self-effacing as the sometimes jarringly honest production. Humour and irony are an integral part of the lyrical content: the sardonically glamourised banality of ‘Ipswich’, the overtly jokey ‘So Hard’, or the observational absurdities of ‘Biscuit Festival’ and ‘Vegeburgers’ are all striking examples, but there’s wit in every line, and I don’t hear any of these pieces as comic songs. They are simply songs that were written by someone with a sense of humour. There’s an almost punk aesthetic in the unadorned directness of the performances and recordings, even in the playfully ersatz jazz standard ‘Gorgeous’, or the harmonically shapely bluegrass of ‘Broad Daylight’; but the default stylistic position, when Walker is not paying well-informed homage to some other tradition, is a take on the kind of literate, jazz-inflected pop espoused by Steely Dan. That Walker does not have access to that band’s production budgets or world-class session players doesn’t hamper him in any way however, just the opposite: there’s a simplicity in the way his material is presented that showcases the work of composition, while the songs’ realisation fades transparently into the background. And each song bears the detailed scrutiny this invites; every instrumental obbligato, every passing chord, every lyrical assonance or wry pun is precisely judged and aesthetically exact. This music articulates Walker’s subjectivity with the kind of particularity that can only be achieved by someone who knows their language inside out, who has reflectively examined their own practice with an unflinching eye and pared away all the flab. I sometimes get the impression quite a lot has been pared away that I might have enjoyed, but it’s better to edit ruthlessly than self-indulgently, and what’s left is as irreducible as the deftly outlined characters and situations that inhabit the songs. I should declare my interest, and admit that he gave me some of my first playing opportunities when I got serious about playing music myself, but Ben Walker is the real deal, an artist that creates because he has no other option, and Gorgeous finds him at the top of his game. Simply superb. - Oliver Arditi


"An Orphan's Song: Ben Walker Sings Stuart Ross CD"

An Orphan’s Song: Ben Walker Sings Stuart Ross (CD), by Ben Walker (Peak/Proper Tales, 2008; $15). Ben Walker really must love Stuart Ross’s work because, unless you’re Leonard Cohen, releasing a CD of poetry set to music is a commercially risky venture, to say the least. But it’s obvious there’s much love in this collection of tunes appropriated (with a bit of editing) from four of Stu’s small-press poetry collections, with the U.K.-based Walker lending not only vocals but also acting as a one-man band. Stuart often seems perplexed when people say they find some of his surreal poetry funny. Well, funny a lot of it is, and many of the poems are even funnier when set to music. “Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Ron Padgett” is pure genius. No. 1 with a silver bullet. - Taddle Creek Magazine


Discography

Albums:
Astroturf (2016)
Gorgeous (2014)
Kill or Cure (2008)
An Orphan's Song (2008)
Bahaudin (2001)

EP:
If You Want Love (Have Mine) (2004)

Photos

Bio

Ben Walker was born Benjamin Ward in London, England, in 1968, moving to  the hamlet of Kersey Uplands, in the county of Suffolk, in 1980. He studied classical piano at Colchester Institute, jazz piano at Leeds College of Music and jazz singing and mandolin at Middlesex University and William Paterson College, New Jersey, gaining a first class degree in Performance Arts from Middlesex University in 1994.

Walker started performing original music solo in Suffolk pubs age 17, eventually becoming involved in folk sessions and mandolin playing while studying jazz and classical music formally. A period as a jobbing musician (including busking) ended in 1998 with a move to Bradford, West Yorkshire and a succession of office jobs, which funded and partly inspired Walker’s self-released debut CD Bahaudin.

Between 2002 and 2010 Walker played gigs and made appearances in West Yorkshire, Suffolk, London, New Jersey and Toronto and toured the former soviet republic of Georgia with singing group Samzeo in 2009 before moving to Toronto, Canada in 2010.

After singing with another Georgian music ensemble, Machari, in 2011, Walker joined forces with Gare Black in Ben and Gary’s Ice Cream Band and met bassist Alfred Gertler. Both musicians were to feature on Walker’s first Canadian release. 

Gorgeous, released on iTunes on December 2nd 2013 was an album of re-recordings of songs written between 1986 and 1996 featuring Walker singing and playing most of the parts as well as engineering and producing. A CD party featuring the Ben Walker Project (including guitarist James Rohr and bassist Jared Craig) was held at The Cameron House, Toronto on 3 October, 2015.

In 2015 Walker had a song picked up by the Family Channel for their show ‘Lost and Found Music Studios’. The episode 'Wondering', named after the song, first aired on January 20th 2017.

July 5th 2016 saw the Bandcamp release Astroturf, a download-only album compiling 10 dance-related tracks from the late 1990s.

Between March 2017 and December 2018, 'Straight to Camera Volumes 1 and 2', a series of no-nonsense low-tech videos were recorded and published.

The Ben Walker Group currently features Kevin Barrett on guitar, Michael Kaler on bass and Tim Shia on drums.

There are 5 Ben Walker albums and 1 EP available, featuring members of Lindisfarne, 10cc, Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and The Sunparlour Players as well as noted jazz and folk musicians Nigel Stonier, Patrick Naylor, Kevin James and David French.



Band Members