Ben de la Cour
Gig Seeker Pro

Ben de la Cour

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011

Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Established on Jan, 2011
Solo Folk Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Pennyblackmusic review of Under a Wasted Moon"

'Under a Wasted Moon' by Ben de la Cour is a sparse, haunting album in the great tradition of American singer-songwriters. De la Cour weaves a good yarn. He's as rich in melody, just listen to 'Sobriety and the Woman' or 'Down in Babylon', as he is in storytelling. Style wise he leans, possibly too heavily, on one of his heroes Townes Van Zandt, even down to his phrasing, particularly on 'The Ballard of John Runner', but while there's not many that can stand up to even being mentioned in the same breath as Van Zandt, de la Cour stands tall and proud.

We need emerging artistes like de la Cour to nudge us towards the places our everyday reality does it's best to exclude. Whilst not quite matching Van Zandt's heart breaking pathos, which an appreciation of exponentially increases after you've seen Van Zandt's DVD biopic 'Be Here To Love Me' it must be said, the raw emotion of the album still shines through. On the lighter, jauntier moments, it's not all doom laden angst here, de la Cour's reverie recalls the lilting tones of Swedish indie pop/folk hero Jens Lekman.

Comparisons aside, de la Cour has made a genuinely heartfelt début deserving of an audience. Maybe stay up too late, drink too much, dim the lights too low, and play 'Under a Wasted Moon'. Let it wash over you and it might just become the emotional catharsis you've been seeking. - Pennyblackmusic

"FAME review of Under a Wasted Moon"

Ben de la Cour must drink the same water Danny Schmidt drinks. Maybe they don't really sound all that much alike, de la Cour singing on a lower register and without Schmidt's unique vocal style, but their music comes from the same well to a larger than normal degree. They both delve into the poetic side of folk storytelling and each in his own way brings their stories to life. And don't be fooled. Neither just picked up a guitar and started singing. They listened and they learned and they accumulated until the music began acclimating itself to the songs. The simple fact is that every musician develops a process which, over time, defines him or her. They develop signatures.

At this point in time, de la Cour's signature lies in his voice: soft and lower range with gentle edges tuned to his songs. Those songs are steeped in the modern folk style, having echoes of early Gordon Lightfoot and even folk groups like The Brothers Four or The Kingston Trio (mostly sans harmonies, of course). They look at life from the outside in rather than the inside out (or maybe it's the other way around), finding inspiration in the story rather than the personal. Sure, love is there as well as pain and loneliness and the typical reflections, but they are not the focus. You can chalk one up for de la Cour. The focus is not the me, but the they.

There is an almost Walt Disney feel to some of the songs presented here. The Ballad of John Runner, for instance, conjures up the night time ride of a caped horseman racing toward some unknown end (but is actually a folk tale about murder and more), and the almost medieval aspects of The Martyr are (to the modern folk fan) all too evident. There is a lighter side too, even though the subject matter can be dark (Sobriety and the Woman). There is a manic side (the distorted and plodding instrumental, Rabbit Starvation). And there is more.

The Danny Schmidt reference? Schmidt fans will not be able to listen to I Went Down to Dido or Down in Babylon without hearing shades of what has made Schmidt a front runner on the folk and acoustic circuit. De la Cour didn't plan it that way. It just happened. And it's not a bad place to start. Not Bad at all. - FAME

""Under a Wasted Moon""

Ben de la Cour
Under a Wasted Moon
3.5 stars (out of 5)

By Donald Teplyske

Here’s the problem. I can’t get totally excited about music I receive for review when it arrives via the wireless medium. Such music tends to sit in my inbox, and once in a while—like last August when I received Under a Wasted Moon—gets forgotten about.

There is so much more to an album than the music, and as convenient as downloads are for immediate listening something of significance is lost when one doesn’t hold the compact disc in hand. For example, who is playing what? Where was the album recorded? When? Who wrote the songs and under what circumstances? And don’t get me started on the lack of album art and packaging.

With a reminding email from my editor as impetus, I finally downloaded Ben de la Cour’s debut release on a chilly fall afternoon. Sometimes, things work out beautifully.

While I’m sure I would have enjoyed Under a Wasted Moon during mid-summer, de la Cour’s is an autumn album, one that laments the past while looking toward a challenging future. Much like Justin Vernon’s For Emma, Forever Ago this is a lyrically rich collection of songs framed by just the right amount of instrumentation.

The overall mood of the 11 pieces is consistently bleak, poetically gentle, and thoroughly engaging. Names such as Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, and Townes Van Zandt have been bandied about when reviewing this album elsewhere, and while all may be appropriate in some ways, such are a bit of a reach for an artist whose previous excursion in music was fronting a London-based doom metal band called Dead Man’s Root.

Ray Lamontagne might be a better leaping point. Like Lamontagne has, there is a primitive soulfulness in de la Cour’s voice although de la Cour’s is admittedly not as smooth. The vocal presentation is where Van Zandt comparisons would be most apt; one can easily picture Townes exploring these themes in a similar vocal style.

With several of the songs feature little more than de la Cour and a guitar, this is an album that leaves a lot of room for words and chords to float. “Rabbit Starvation” is a banjo-based tune that takes minimalism to a bit of an extreme, but elsewhere things are more embellished.

The lead off numbers “Sobriety and the Woman” and “Down in Babylon” set a rather high bar in performance and writing. Singing in a voice not far removed from the shattered glass of which he sings, de la Cour pulls listeners close with the first song. Singing of a departing lover, “Down in Babylon” is a number that contains shadows of Van Zandt’s legacy.

Where a Los Angeles-based, Brooklyn-raised, transplanted Londoner hears about the first sanctioned hanging to happen in the land now called Alberta is one of those mysteries I hope I never have uncovered. What de la Cour has done with “The Ballad of John Runner” is recreate with deft word selection a story 130 years in the telling.

Cree guide Ka-Ki-Si-Kutchin was convicted of slaughtering and cannibalizing his family during the winter of 1878 just a few dozen miles from where I was born and raised; while de la Cour takes liberty with place names and pronunciation, he has crafted a haunting folk song that is every bit as nuanced as Eliza Gilkyson’s “Ballad of Yvonne Johnson” and Ian Tyson and Tom Russell’s “Claude Dallas.”

“The River Song” is comparatively up-tempo. In times lyrically awkward (“She’s sweet enough to make the willow tree bend” begins one couplet), de la Cour’s innocent earnestness appeals. With sentiments that could be found equally often on a Louvin Brothers album or within a Springsteen classic, the bones of a lasting song are obvious.

Not perfect, and likely not for everyone, Under a Wasted Moon provides a deep, devastating, listen that will not soon be forgotten. - The Lonesome Road Review

"Review from Fresh Deer Meat"

Ben de la Cour is a folk musician with the songwriting acumen of a young Nick Cave. ‘Sobriety and the Woman’ is 3 minutes, 14 seconds of dark, brooding acoustica that pitches de la Cour as a raw musician with the lyrical wisdom of a vitriolic Leonard Cohen. It’s stark, melancholic and packed with emotion and will send you collectively weak at the knees. -

"BBC Radio Bristol"

Brilliant. - BBC Radio


"Under a Wasted Moon" (2010)



Nashville based singer-songwriter Ben de la Cour has lived a different kind of life. After growing up in Brooklyn, he set out to see the world as an amateur boxer, janitor, bartender, busker and agricultural worker living in Havana, Paris, Los Angeles, London and New Orleans. In between working a variety of odd jobs and touring the country several times over, de la Cour found the time to release three albums in the last three years, the latest of which is Ghost Light. Recorded in just over a week at Piety Street Studios in New Orleans, Ghost Light expands on Ben’s raw and rough-cut acoustic sound by venturing into bolder sonic territory with the help of Kieth Botello on drums and Steve Calandra (Morning 40 Federation) on upright bass; but despite the album’s more polished arrangements, there is still a quiet sense of raw vulnerability in its honest and tightly crafted lyrics.

Ghost Light combines songs from his first two albums such as the subdued and forlorn “Down in Babylon,” acoustic rocker “Memorial Day,” and the somber reflection on artistic self-discovery and sacrifice in “I Went Down to Dido” with new songs such as the haunting “I Wanted Nothing” and the standout track “Howlin’ Down the Dark”, the tale of a lost soul traveling moonlit highways interwoven with delicate Spanish guitar.

For many singer-songwriters, it’s hard for the audience to hear the link between the artist’s music and that of their influences, and harder still for the artist to live up to these comparisons. Ben de la Cour has managed to do so naturally and without an effort to emulate. It’s his ease with the pen and guitar that has Ben traveling down that same timeless path and abiding in the traditions of the free-spirited balladeer, and as a result Ben’s songs of life, leaving, and the fresh wounds and old scars of love provide a uniquely modern, haunting and sometimes darkly humorous take on a timeless genre.

Band Members