Ben Godwin
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Ben Godwin

Band Pop Singer/Songwriter

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Dec
14
Ben Godwin @ Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Oct
04
Ben Godwin @ Roisin Dubh

Galway, Not Applicable, Ireland

Galway, Not Applicable, Ireland

Oct
02
Ben Godwin @ Ruby Sessions

Dublin, Not Applicable, Ireland

Dublin, Not Applicable, Ireland

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Music

Press


“Come away with me and we’ll have ourselves a life!” Imagine Kurt Weill moving to New Orleans and working for 20 years in a nightclub before moving out to LA where a film producer asks him to write a musical about New York that gets rejected by the film industry but opens to wild crowds on Broadway. If you can imagine that, then you have a good picture of Ben's music. “Trade the stubborn farmland for a million neon lights!” Picture 100 dancers behind the singer onstage. “We’ll look away while the violence carries on.” The pianist is keeping the bass player and drummer busy pumping rhythm to a holy beat. “We’ll make a new religion out of rusty cars.” The break has a six ring circus of dancers doing different moves – a taste for the inner eyes of my mind. As you can expect, I’ll have to listen 100 times to catch all the action. And I will. Willingly.

A shout-out for the title tune, Skin And Bone, complete with oompa cabaret flavors: “Poverty’s a crime in the poorhouse and the punishment is life. The lucky ones work in the slaughterhouse and the rest go under the knife. Hunger is a crime in the madhouse where the gunners are running with that, and liberty runs on consumption – is anything wrong with that?” A dance filled night of musical theatre coming to a stage near you soon. In the meantime, check out this cool record. - Eartaste.com


The songs Ben Godwin writes seem to be as much a part of his life as they are a product of it, and this is the difference between the bundled Shiny/Atom releases and the forthcoming Skin and Bone. All are apt examples of quality songwriting and musicianship, but Skin and Bone, as the title denotes, feels more open and settled in a way that's honest. It sounds less polished and more like one of those artists finding his/her voice clichés - soaked in the dirt, gasoline, and restaurant grease on the sidewalks and subway platforms of his new home. The album opens with the glorious “Drinking Gasoline” and continues with “New World City,” which moves with the same urgency and impending doom he sees in the City each day. The album continues with rich, buttery tones, captured at Seaside on highlights like “Skin and Bone”, “Paper Thin Walls”, and “Outsize Shoes.” The album, over all, has a dramatic, upbeat musical feel that is well versed in American post-war blues/early rock and roll, jazz-influenced harmonies, pop melodies with an eye for the theatrical. His voice comes across strong, soulful, and present in each and every verse. - urbanfolk


Rockin’ roll and rollin’ rocks make for an interesting listen that’s so successful it sounds at once just barely removed from a dirty saloon and a fine upscale restaurant ballroom. It’s not often that one singer/songwriter can achieve such a myriad of influential sounds but Ben Godwin, a London musical native did just that. His sound is raw and lyrical, something that we all could learn a little something from. Golden! - Smother.net


Gritty and glittering street scenes come alive on the rollicking debut from this London native turned New Yorker. Combining jazzy cabaret swagger with soulful sincerity, Skin And Bone belongs in both dueling piano bars and topdown car stereos, as Ben Godwin’s gruff, Tom Waits-like growl saunters toward perfection. It seems New York City has done Godwin some good. - Magnet (#76)


A delightfully quirky, sprightly and tuneful idiosyncratic sonic romp, this album scores extra points for both striking originality and sheer eccentricity. Ben Godwin's big, booming, raspy, yet robust voice belt out the offbeat lyrics with tremendous rip-snorting theatrical hambone flair. The arrangements are perfectly catchy, lively and harmonic, offering plenty of merry bounce and infectious energy to spare. Whether it's the rousing bombast of the opening number "Drinking Gasoline" and the spirited "Outsize Shoes," the touching thoughtfulness of the lovely "Constantly Reminded," or the sober philosophizing of the nifty closing item "Skin and Bone," this album remains a total flaky treat from start to finish. - Joe Wawrzyniak


"Drinking Gasoline" may have very well been written as the 1st act closer to some fantastic Broadway musical taking place in dank, rainy back alleys and sleazy bars. Everyone's smoking and scantily-clad women are dancing on the bar like they've chosen this profession because it's fun. Oh, "New World City" gives off the same sort of animation, but this time "la la la la la la la la"'s make a grand and appreciated entrance. Godwin's use of a stomping piano, sandpaper vocals, and surprising word usage (bonus points for incorporating the phrase "post-millennium bric-a-brac") renders Skin and Bones not only repeat-worthy, but distinctive. Then we slow down. Enter the tear-jerking piano heavy love ballad, "Constantly Reminded", highlighted by references to hands and New York City (like any decent love song), and every fish-netted female wipes her eyes and thinks that maybe things like love and happiness and not dancing on a bar until 4 a.m. really do exist.

But enough with the musical theater connections (even though it's under Skin and Bone's surface for the duration of the album); Godwin moves his rowdy vocals over nine blues-based tracks relating, love, New York City, and rats like no one's ever thought about any of these things before.

The album ender and title track, "Skin and Bone's" couldn't be a better concluder with it's background chorus (of singing barmaids) and piano induced raunchiness; I can't really think of a reason to sit still or not play the cd over again from the beginning. - Antimusic.com


Speaking of Tom Waits, there's a little of him in Ben Godwin, a Londoner transplanted to New York. With a gritty voice that's half Joe Cocker and half Ian Anderson, Godwin belts out a set of theatrical, jazz-inflected tunes inspired by New York City life. By turns soulful ("Constantly Reminded"), Bacharachian ("Paper Thin Walls"), gentle ("Castaway") and Brelian ("Outsize Shoes"), Godwin's songs are as old-fashioned as the intelligibility of the lyrics he pipes out with his thick baritone. "Poverty's a crime in the poorhouse / And the punishment is life / The lucky ones work in the slaughterhouse / And the rest go under the knife," he bellows in the title track, where you should also listen for Julie LaMendola's eerie saw-playing.

"We'll sweat our hearts out / Fill a rich man's cup in the New World City / We'll break our backs building monuments to the sky / Catch our fingers in the teeth of the machinery," he cries like Bertholdt Brecht and Kurt Weill in "New World City," but we'll also "make a new religion out of rusted cars / Our televisions, and our hollow stars." "So very precious," cries the Everyman of Godwin's tales, "but we're only worth a song in the New World City." But the value of a song, as Godwin certainly knows, is boundless.

Echoing Jacques Brel's "The Bulls," "New World City" ends with a litany of places, cities all over the world where people struggle. But unlike the Brel song, which leaves us with its grim battlefield images, Godwin's "La la la" chorus returns for a final affirmation of life amidst the dirt and grime.

This music is serious, fun, and definitely different.

- Blogcritics.com - Jon Sobel


Discography

ALBUMS:
'Skin And Bone' 2007

EPs:
'Lighter Than The Atom' 2005
'=shinyshiny=' 2004
'Four Songs' 2002

PRODUCTION WORK:
Halloween Baby - Dan Costello 2006
Sauces And Marinades - Canteen 2005
The Painter's Ball - sumladfromcov 2004

COMPILATIONS
Anticomp Folkilation - 'Terminus' 2007
Acoustic Arc - 'Birdman' - 2005

GUEST APPEARANCES
State Street Rambler- Eric Wolfson 2007

Photos

Bio

The essence and excitement of New York City never fails to inspire every dreamer who experiences it first hand. London-via-Brooklyn songwriter Ben Godwin is the latest to fall prey to the whims of the world’s greatest city. His recently released album, “Skin And Bone”, offers nine twisted cabaret tales of city life told in a grisly baritone and unique vaudeville-rock style: tales of beauty, struggle and hope amongst the chaos and filth of the sidewalks, subways and skylines.

Ben moved to the City in 2005 after many successful years as a touring musician in the UK, performing at legendary London venues like the Troubadour, the Metro Club and the Kashmir Klub. New York life transformed his sound into something resembling the gravelly, fractured style of Tom Waits or the apocalyptic blues of Nick Cave- ‘soaked in the gasoline, dirt, and restaurant grease of the
sidewalks and subway platforms of his new home.’ (Tom Drake-Urbanfolk #10)

He is also a frequent performer in NYC for LIFEbeat’s Hearts & Voices program, which brings live music to people living with HIV. Proceeds from each sale of “Skin And Bone” will go to benefit LIFEbeat. As of Summer 2007 the record is rocking college radio in the USA, with dozens of stations spinning songs from ‘Skin And Bone’.

Among the new generation of independent artists who are getting their work out to audiences on their own terms, Ben will continue to bring “Skin And Bone” to the mainstream, knocking listeners out one by one, one song at a time. “Skin And Bone” is available for purchase via KarmaFarm records on iTunes, eMusic, CD Baby and all major download stores.

For more information, news on upcoming shows and to hear select tracks, visit www.bengodwin.com or www.myspace.com/karmafarm.