Ben Sures
Gig Seeker Pro

Ben Sures

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 1994 | INDIE | AFM

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 1994
Solo World Singer/Songwriter

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

May
20
Ben Sures @ Tree House Cafe

British Columbia, Canada

British Columbia, Canada

May
15
Ben Sures @ Private Show

Lantzville, British Columbia, Canada

Lantzville, British Columbia, Canada

May
14
Ben Sures @ Skinny Fat Jack's

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

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

Music

Press



November 4th was the day the first snow flake hit Halifax streets to unofficially announce another long cold winter. But, things were warm and lively in our small flat that my wife Jennifer and I like to call Big Pink House Concerts. Ben Sures, the guest of honour for the evening, put on an outstanding show for our packed house of guests and left each person with a special memory to take home.

When I decided to host a house concert for Ben Sures I knew what his music sounded like from listening to tracks off of his latest recording "goodbye pretty girl." I also knew that Ben was the winner of the John Lennon Songwriting competition in the folk category and that this was a HUGE accomplishment. What I didn't know was how his songs would come across in a live house concert setting. I have to admit that it was my wife Jennifer who convinced me to ask Ben to do the show. Boy, did I almost make a huge mistake.

Ben Sures not only writes great tunes, he is a craftsman on stage with his ability to interact with the audience and express himself. The audience often found themselves in hysterics listening to Ben's witty stories and songs.

But, somehow his music, which was often laced in melancholy, was extremely reflective and personal. At times I found myself proudly witnessing each line as a song unfolded with such honesty and realness that I had to smile out loud.

Ben's grand finale had the entire audience standing, waving their hands, singing, and spinning to "Dear Sarah." Need I say more?

Ben is a natural when it comes to performing at house concerts, and he is also a fantastic person. Without sounding too much like a letter of reference, I suggest that you invite him into your living room soon. Check his listings and get in touch with him for a house concert the next time that he comes through your area.

By Julian West, Big Pink House Concerts - Acousticroof.ca


Ben Sures ‘Gone To Bolivia’ CD Release
Winner of both the John Lennon Songwriting Competition & International Songwriting Competition
featuring Don Kerr, Kathryn Rose, Meg Dolovich
with special guests Michelle Rumball and more!

Gladstone Hotel, Melody Bar, 1214 Queen St. W., Toronto
Thursday, March 22, 9:00pm
No cover

[Toronto ON] It’s a Sures thing. Toronto audiences will be treated to the wild and wry musical offerings of John Lennon Songwriting Award & ISC winner, Ben Sures, who releases his CD, Gone To Bolivia, at the legendary Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar) on March 22!

Who is Ben Sures, you may ask? He’s the kid you hung out with during recess at grade school – or wanted to. Because he was hilarious. Not in the traditional funnyman role – but as unconventional as all get out. He made life fun with his quirky observations on all things ridiculous – targeting those things that appear as normal to the rest of the world. His uncanny gift for observation exposed you to the art of looking at things differently. And it became a drug. He made you laugh as he raised your standards for what to expect. And, all these years later, you were never sure what became of such a character.

Apparently, he moved to Edmonton when he wasn’t in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver or Winnipeg – calling half the country his home. He became a musician, released six albums– and gathering a full head of steam. All for the same reasons that made him so popular as a kid.

He’s still a kid, yet he’s got grown-up ambitions. Hardly the protagonist in his tales, he’s all about bringing important issues to our collective attention through his lyrics. And, with some 20 years of experience under his belt, he’s still as quirky as you remember. Gone to Bolivia serves up 13 songs with topics covering a scope beyond that of the old schoolyard. From the global and historical perspective afforded by first-person tales from the deck of a cruise ship to the impact of poverty and humankind’s surprisingly two-faced approach to becoming a part of the solution, Sures imparts acute life lessons.

Nothing much is as it appears – nor is there any need to impart major political statements. You fill in your own blanks while Sures and well-known Rheostatics producer Don Kerr concentrate on a lush backdrop of interesting and complementary instrumentation, including acoustic and electric guitars, piano, pedal steel, strings and the delicate backup harmonies of Michelle Rumball, Rhonda Stakich, Kathryn Rose, Good Lovelies’ Kerri Ough and Caroline Brooks. Mix in other high profile players like Tim Bovaconti (Ron Sexsmith) together with members of the Creaking Tree String Quartet, and you have an offering whose musical sweep is beyond compare.

Sures also has plenty of time for the past – “High School Steps”, with its tales of early love, listening to the Kinks and the silly ideals of youth. And the title track – its punkish attack and driving beat underlining its larger theme of the personal cost of personal human sacrifice in the context of revolution for the masses. “Everybody Matters” is surprisingly simple, yet reveals an emotionally-charged message. He’s our conscience throughout – no easy feat, even on a suave cover of Mose Allison’s insightful “Everybody’s Crying Mercy”.

'In Burma' you’ll hear some of the most off-beat humour that is as cutting as Loudon Wainwright III, as well as guitar-work that is rich and resonant.

Indeed, Sures’ playing has moved front and centre on this release as he’s also becoming known as a powerful player to have in the scrum, being hand-picked to support such artists as Paul Reddick, Rita Chiarelli and the Wyrds.

Little wonder Sures has secured such prestigious awards. His material comes from a special place and what may seem like pleasing folk-pop actually packs a lyrical and melodic punch that keeps on punching, long after the music’s over.

Say hello to your long-lost friend whose schoolyard musings now encompass a whole world of joy, sadness and everything-in-between, as can only be observed by a true character who has never lost the gift of observation and seeing things differently. - Arts and Culture Maven


Ben Sures ‘Gone To Bolivia’ CD Release
Winner of both the John Lennon Songwriting Competition & International Songwriting Competition
featuring Don Kerr, Kathryn Rose, Meg Dolovich
with special guests Michelle Rumball and more!

Gladstone Hotel, Melody Bar, 1214 Queen St. W., Toronto
Thursday, March 22, 9:00pm
No cover

[Toronto ON] It’s a Sures thing. Toronto audiences will be treated to the wild and wry musical offerings of John Lennon Songwriting Award & ISC winner, Ben Sures, who releases his CD, Gone To Bolivia, at the legendary Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar) on March 22!

Who is Ben Sures, you may ask? He’s the kid you hung out with during recess at grade school – or wanted to. Because he was hilarious. Not in the traditional funnyman role – but as unconventional as all get out. He made life fun with his quirky observations on all things ridiculous – targeting those things that appear as normal to the rest of the world. His uncanny gift for observation exposed you to the art of looking at things differently. And it became a drug. He made you laugh as he raised your standards for what to expect. And, all these years later, you were never sure what became of such a character.

Apparently, he moved to Edmonton when he wasn’t in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver or Winnipeg – calling half the country his home. He became a musician, released six albums– and gathering a full head of steam. All for the same reasons that made him so popular as a kid.

He’s still a kid, yet he’s got grown-up ambitions. Hardly the protagonist in his tales, he’s all about bringing important issues to our collective attention through his lyrics. And, with some 20 years of experience under his belt, he’s still as quirky as you remember. Gone to Bolivia serves up 13 songs with topics covering a scope beyond that of the old schoolyard. From the global and historical perspective afforded by first-person tales from the deck of a cruise ship to the impact of poverty and humankind’s surprisingly two-faced approach to becoming a part of the solution, Sures imparts acute life lessons.

Nothing much is as it appears – nor is there any need to impart major political statements. You fill in your own blanks while Sures and well-known Rheostatics producer Don Kerr concentrate on a lush backdrop of interesting and complementary instrumentation, including acoustic and electric guitars, piano, pedal steel, strings and the delicate backup harmonies of Michelle Rumball, Rhonda Stakich, Kathryn Rose, Good Lovelies’ Kerri Ough and Caroline Brooks. Mix in other high profile players like Tim Bovaconti (Ron Sexsmith) together with members of the Creaking Tree String Quartet, and you have an offering whose musical sweep is beyond compare.

Sures also has plenty of time for the past – “High School Steps”, with its tales of early love, listening to the Kinks and the silly ideals of youth. And the title track – its punkish attack and driving beat underlining its larger theme of the personal cost of personal human sacrifice in the context of revolution for the masses. “Everybody Matters” is surprisingly simple, yet reveals an emotionally-charged message. He’s our conscience throughout – no easy feat, even on a suave cover of Mose Allison’s insightful “Everybody’s Crying Mercy”.

'In Burma' you’ll hear some of the most off-beat humour that is as cutting as Loudon Wainwright III, as well as guitar-work that is rich and resonant.

Indeed, Sures’ playing has moved front and centre on this release as he’s also becoming known as a powerful player to have in the scrum, being hand-picked to support such artists as Paul Reddick, Rita Chiarelli and the Wyrds.

Little wonder Sures has secured such prestigious awards. His material comes from a special place and what may seem like pleasing folk-pop actually packs a lyrical and melodic punch that keeps on punching, long after the music’s over.

Say hello to your long-lost friend whose schoolyard musings now encompass a whole world of joy, sadness and everything-in-between, as can only be observed by a true character who has never lost the gift of observation and seeing things differently. - Arts and Culture Maven


Ben Sures
Gone to Bolivia (Independent)
Ben Sures, based in Edmonton, AB, these days, has been, over the last 20 years or so,  forging a sturdy career by writing, playing, touring, and putting out albums—each one better than the last … just as it should be.  
In Gone to Bolivia, his eighth, he has put out his best work yet and it is as good a piece of work as any I have heard. From the terrific opening American Shantytown—“If there’s trouble in America then there’s trouble everywhere”—12 originals and one Mose Allison tune follow and not a runt in the litter. The Boy Who Walked Backwards Through the Snow is a heartbreaking retelling of some dark Canadiana. I loved the title track, a catchy political pop song.
Ben also wisely surrounded himself with helpers such as producer Don Ker of the Rheostatics along with Claire Jenkins, the Good Lovelies and Michelle Rumball, the original singer of the Grievous Angels, and some of the Creaking Tree String Quartet, adding to the quality of the adventurous musicianship on the album. Ben has hit one over the fence with this release.
– by les siemieniuk - Penguin Eggs



NOW RATING N N N N N


DISC REVIEW
Ben Sures - Gone To Bolivia
(independent) BY SARAH GREENE
There’s a freshness to award-winning songwriter Ben Sures’s new album that belies his 20 years of making records. The Edmonton-based singer/guitarist sounds like he’s discovering new things on these simple, inviting songs about revolutionaries, American shantytowns, cruise ship work and residential school survival.

Producer Don Kerr is sympathetic to Sures’s warm and wordy delivery, embellishing it with playful touches of percussion, strings, pedal steel and piano that never overpower the songs. Backup vocals by Rhonda Stakich, Kathryn Rose, Michelle Rumball and the Good Lovelies add a breathy lightness to the otherwise political material – a good trick.

The album has personal touches, too. High School Steps is as much an ode to early friendships and the Kinks as it is to a high school sweetheart, while Everybody Matters is an unabashed feel-good group hug of an anthem.

Top track: Gone To Bolivia - Now Magazine



NOW RATING N N N N N


DISC REVIEW
Ben Sures - Gone To Bolivia
(independent) BY SARAH GREENE
There’s a freshness to award-winning songwriter Ben Sures’s new album that belies his 20 years of making records. The Edmonton-based singer/guitarist sounds like he’s discovering new things on these simple, inviting songs about revolutionaries, American shantytowns, cruise ship work and residential school survival.

Producer Don Kerr is sympathetic to Sures’s warm and wordy delivery, embellishing it with playful touches of percussion, strings, pedal steel and piano that never overpower the songs. Backup vocals by Rhonda Stakich, Kathryn Rose, Michelle Rumball and the Good Lovelies add a breathy lightness to the otherwise political material – a good trick.

The album has personal touches, too. High School Steps is as much an ode to early friendships and the Kinks as it is to a high school sweetheart, while Everybody Matters is an unabashed feel-good group hug of an anthem.

Top track: Gone To Bolivia - Now Magazine


-“Who killed the last folksinger?” wonders Ben Sures. Well, as long as he’s doing what he does here, there’s always going to be one really good one left in the world.

Very rarely, I receive a CD that just blows me away from the opening notes. Field Guide to Loneliness is such a disc. Ben Sures is a wonderful storyteller and a nimble guitar picker. He writes tales that are vivid, personal and concise. Not a wasted word or note here – every song clocks in at under four minutes and lingers in your head much longer.

The first acoustic notes of “Dancer” lured me in – the song has a gentle bounce and tells a sad, touching story. If every song were in this style, the whole album would still be a worthwhile listen. And then comes the cool, quirky “Used To Have a Raygun.” (And just the other night, I was telling my wife and daughter how I used to daydream in elementary school about having one.) It has a nifty guitar hook, spry hand percussion, and clever-as-heck lyrics.

Then there’s the rocking, catchy “My Last Girlfriend” – peppy harmonica from Mike McDonald, Sures’ fuzzed-up raving guitar, and cute ’50-style backing vocals. In the same vein, and just as awesome, is the aforementioned “Who Killed the Last Folksinger?” It has a jam band vibe, Sures’ exuberant vocal, and Corey Ticknor’s percussive, plucky mandolin.

At the other end of the spectrum, yet fine in their own right, are the jazzy, Tom Waits-ish “Bachelors” and “Not On the Town.” “Bachelors” is darkly personal, a glimpse into a sad man’s life. “Town” is even old-timier, with Sures nailing a brilliant solo and a sassy male-female vocal duet that sounds like the script of an old movie.

“Til I Learned to Cook for You” and “Winnipeg” are sweet and sad. Cook nails another smooth guitar solo, and “Winnipeg” features Burke Carroll’s slippery pedal steel. I dig the sense of bittersweet regret in both, and the lyric images in “Winnipeg” are especially vivid.

OK, so what else can Sures do? Well, there’s the bossa bounce of “Under Water,” an environmental tale told from the point of view of a fish – jazzy guitar (including a groovy, too-short bass and guitar interlude) and absolutely charming backing vocals. And the driving “Squeezed Out Of the Sky,” twangy rockabilly that belies the lyrical lament of resigned defeat.

“Lettuce and Tomato” is my current (as of this writing) favorite – a flurry of mandolin punctuating a poignant tale of the uneasy relationship between kids and their parents. Then comes “Man on the Verge,” the heart-on-your-sleeve, confessional closing track, Sahra Featherstone’s violin floating like a sweet kiss goodbye.

I just had to play this album for my wife, and she enjoyed it, too. With Field Guide to Loneliness, Ben Sures has delivered a gem, and I’ll just leave it at that.

Chip Withrow, Muse's Muse
- Muse's Muse


NEW SOUNDS - May 19, 2003
by VUE STAFF

Ben Sures
Goodbye Pretty Girl
(independent)

Ben Sures is perhaps the greatest gift Winnipeg has ever bestowed upon
Edmonton. In the past few years, the rootsy singer/songwriter has
raised the bar for his local contemporaries by effortlessly
intertwining lilting melodies with sharp, evocative lyricism that
combines folk, blues and a bit of pop he's an ingratiating,
iconoclastic storyteller. On Goodbye Pretty Girl, the familiar themes of longing hearts and lonely souls are present, yet Sures delivers these 10 songs with a greater sophistication than he's ever revealed before. Under the guiding hand of co-producer Mike Lent, Sures sounds playful and assured, whether he's singing the kind of junkyard blues you wish Tom Waits were still making (Holes) or etching a tangible portrait of introspection (Water). Perhaps the weakest link in Sures's otherwise genius creation is the melodramatic "No One Understands," which falls back on unsurprising singer/songwriter canon fodder, albeit dressed in competent musicianship. Happily, the rest of the album is ridiculously entertaining and inspired and should either launch Sures to a deserved audience beyond our local field, or inspire Winnipeg to reclaim its prodigal son.

FOUR STARS Dave Johnston - Vue Weekly



-Sures walks fine line on Field Guide
Musician 'intimate without being awkward'
Peter North , Freelance
Published: Friday, March 14, 2008

Ben Sures is never at a loss for words, whether he's writing a song or talking about the process of songwriting, performing or recording.

In the midst of a cross-country tour, Sures is feeling rather positive about the outcome of his latest recording session, which resulted in Field Guide to Loneliness.

The title alone would make the disc worth investigating even if Edmonton-area folk-roots fans didn't know who Sures was.

That is hardly the case though, as the songwriter/guitarist started building a following some 15 years ago when he moved from his hometown of Winnipeg to Edmonton. (He has spent the last three years in Toronto.)

There's always been lots to recommend and admire about Sures's work and the way he delivers it. If Woody Allen were a singer-songwriter, his work just might resemble that of Sures.

As a writer and performer, Sures feels he has been able to reach a place where he "can walk a fine line of being intimate without being awkward."

Performing for audiences that he sees as a combination of "baby boomers and 20-year-old nerdy girls," Sures will be introducing the characters who inspired some of Field Guide's songs -- including Bachelors, Dancer, Used to Have a Raygun and Man on the Verge.

"The only song I was on the fence about including on the album was Who Killed the Last Folksinger, because it is super derivative," says Sures.

The song carries a solid rhythmic punch and features a rare recorded performance of Jr. Gone Wild frontman Mike McDonald, who added some Neil Young-like harmonica to the track.

"I've wanted to get Mike on a recording for a long time," says Sures.

"We also got Gary Craig (Blackie and the Rodeo Kings/Anne Murray) to play drums and he and Mike (Lent) really provided a comfortable foundation for the songs. Those two really love playing together and you can hear that."

It also doesn't hurt to have blues diva Little Miss Higgins, who is creating a major buzz coast to coast, on the album credits. Higgins provided one of her vintage vocal passages on Not on the Town.

For tonight's concert at Queen Alexandra Hall, Sures will be in the company of mandolinist and fiddle player Cam Neufeld, singer, bassist and longtime road companion Shantel Koenig, drummer Peter Hendrickson, and singers Rhonda Withnell and Stephanie Suchy.

The show will be recorded for future broadcast by CBC Radio 2.

Peter North, The Edmonton Journal 2008 - Edmonton Journal


Exclaim Magazine!
If Ben Sures was a beverage you can bet he'd have some stiff spirit to sneak up on you (gin perhaps) something aromatic and fortified (vermouth) and a finishing sweetness (sherry?). And like a good martini, Goodbye Pretty Girl deserves to be savoured, not devoured. Sures's depth as a songwriter is, to borrow one of his song titles, clear as a bell. The sing-song lilt he employs on tracks like "Maybe" and "Any Precious Girl" draw the ear like fish to a hook. But not satisfied to merely bait his audience, Sures is a varied writer upping the bar with each track and exploring everything from ramshackle peephole beat blues ("Holes") to epic transcendent anthems to failure ("Falling"). With Goodbye Pretty Girl Sures's name is sure to become as commonplace in the rest of the country as it all ready is in the west.

By Brent Hagerman, Exclaim Magazine!
September 05, 2003

- Exclaim Magazine


Exclaim Magazine!
If Ben Sures was a beverage you can bet he'd have some stiff spirit to sneak up on you (gin perhaps) something aromatic and fortified (vermouth) and a finishing sweetness (sherry?). And like a good martini, Goodbye Pretty Girl deserves to be savoured, not devoured. Sures's depth as a songwriter is, to borrow one of his song titles, clear as a bell. The sing-song lilt he employs on tracks like "Maybe" and "Any Precious Girl" draw the ear like fish to a hook. But not satisfied to merely bait his audience, Sures is a varied writer upping the bar with each track and exploring everything from ramshackle peephole beat blues ("Holes") to epic transcendent anthems to failure ("Falling"). With Goodbye Pretty Girl Sures's name is sure to become as commonplace in the rest of the country as it all ready is in the west.

By Brent Hagerman, Exclaim Magazine!
September 05, 2003

- Exclaim Magazine


Sonya
Okay so last night as I was slightly buzzed on red wine, I thought of a lot of really clever things to say about Ben's new CD. Unfortunately I can't remember them now. I think it had something to do with Ben's god-like stature ( he really does bear a striking resemblance to Greek Fertility statues) and the way his rythmic, emotive songs spring from the ether and always manage to evoke thoughts of some personal experience. Yes, he kills me softly with his songs... they make me feel as though I'm being rocked gently in a cradle and having really fabulous sex all at the same time. Makes me want to leave tofu weiners on somebody's night table. Sniffle. I love you, man. Such talent... such genius.. such beautiful teeth. Wow, this seeemed much more intelligent yesterday.
- bensures.com


Sonya
Okay so last night as I was slightly buzzed on red wine, I thought of a lot of really clever things to say about Ben's new CD. Unfortunately I can't remember them now. I think it had something to do with Ben's god-like stature ( he really does bear a striking resemblance to Greek Fertility statues) and the way his rythmic, emotive songs spring from the ether and always manage to evoke thoughts of some personal experience. Yes, he kills me softly with his songs... they make me feel as though I'm being rocked gently in a cradle and having really fabulous sex all at the same time. Makes me want to leave tofu weiners on somebody's night table. Sniffle. I love you, man. Such talent... such genius.. such beautiful teeth. Wow, this seeemed much more intelligent yesterday.
- bensures.com


Friday, April 13, 2001
It's a Sures thing
By MIKE ROSS
Edmonton Sun
I enjoy being a smart aleck. I really do. And I like to think I'm a funny guy - of course, actually saying that you're funny isn't funny at all. Is admitting to not being funny in any way funny?

I have no idea. Tired. So tired. I've been in the Caribbean for two weeks, exposed to no other music but bad pop hits set to soca rhythms, old Bryan Adams songs and a smattering of '70s Santana. Happy to be back, I troll the Edmonton radio stations only to hear the same damn songs I heard two weeks ago. Hello? Can you guys please add something new once in a while? And by the way, is there a new rock band out there that doesn't sound like Counting Crows or Hootie and the Blowfish or Third Eye Blind or Creed or Pearl Jam? It's as bad as non-stop calypso.

While we're on the subject, the Staggered Crossing is at the Sidetrack Cafe tomorrow night. The band is the latest Canadian signing from the Warner Music Canada label. They kind of sound like the Counting Crows. Naturally, the Bear added it right away.

Tickets are $7 in advance, $9 at the door. Opening will be the local band Three Days Wiser, no relation to Three Eyes Blind.

Where was I? Oh, yeah: Funny.

While thinking of something funny to write, I listened to the first track from Ben Sures' new CD, Live: Keep Fresh.

The first line spoke to me: "Sometimes a funny man is not so funny. His jokes just come out sour grapes. He would like to make you smile, but needs your shoulder for a while, 'cause he does not know how to say what he wants to anyway."

Oh, man ... how true.

Sures plays Wednesday at the New City Likwid Lounge. If you give him money, you'll get an advance copy of his upcoming studio album, which will come out whenever enough people give him money, plus a free copy of Live: Keep Fresh to tide you over. The gig is the only place you can get it. The CD and show are also two of the last places to experience Ben Sures the white folksinger-songwriter. He says he's tired of being a white folksinger-songwriter in competition with countless other white folksinger-songwriters and thus constantly being rejected by one folk festival after another. Plus, the white folksinger-songwriter genre has become a bit stale.

"It's gone from new and revolutionary and it's turned into sort of easy-listening music," he says. "It's like a lot of these people have had too much therapy or something. The live album is a way of capping the folk thing. I'm trying new things now. But I wanted to document me as that kind of artist."

Sures says he's in the process of reinventing himself. When the studio record comes out late this year, there might be a few surprised fans. He might even - gasp - go electric. Yes, shades of Bob Dylan.

For those who don't know, Sures is a short Jewish man with a wicked wit and a magical way with a folk song. He says his musical bent has less to do with his religious heritage than the fact both his parents are artists. A musician since the age of 18, Sures moved to Edmonton from Winnipeg about three years ago for some unexplained reason. Their loss is our gain.

He is also tremendously funny in his songs and his famous stage banter, both of which can be heard on Live: Keep Fresh. In case I haven't mentioned it, this is a live recording.

If you're into singalongs and don't have the energy to leave the house, this is a good pick for you. His song Stupid Stupid is a swell example: "Stupid, stupid, pretty dumb humans ... invented the light bulb so we could see the bill for the electricity." And so on.

You'll also get Part 3 of the continuing saga of The Hippo and the Canary. It's a twisted tale involving an alcoholic pop star and the man who loved her before supposedly stomping her flat and going to jail. The canary is the pop star, the hippo is the man.

"She's supposed to be dead with a very flat head, on the tale grows," Sures sings.

There will be a sequel.

It's not as if he can stop now.

Sures opens for himself on Wednesday, solo, and will hopefully be joined by a band later on.

Do yourself a favour and give him money.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Friday, January 14, 2000
He's a Sures thing, with great hair
By FISH GRIWKOWSKY
Express Writer
It needs saying right off the bat. Don't underestimate the seriousness of Ben Sures. He's what mean, tall girls might call a shorter guy, with an excellent mop of hair, the perfect image for his sassier, scrappier songs.

But it doesn't take much scraping to realize he's a seeker of the truth, a man who likes the way Charles Bukowski writes, for example, but not necessary the whorehouse filth he writes about.

A soulful humanitarian singer-songwriter, in short. "In my case it's a curse. You labour over these c - Edmonton Sun


Friday, April 13, 2001
It's a Sures thing
By MIKE ROSS
Edmonton Sun
I enjoy being a smart aleck. I really do. And I like to think I'm a funny guy - of course, actually saying that you're funny isn't funny at all. Is admitting to not being funny in any way funny?

I have no idea. Tired. So tired. I've been in the Caribbean for two weeks, exposed to no other music but bad pop hits set to soca rhythms, old Bryan Adams songs and a smattering of '70s Santana. Happy to be back, I troll the Edmonton radio stations only to hear the same damn songs I heard two weeks ago. Hello? Can you guys please add something new once in a while? And by the way, is there a new rock band out there that doesn't sound like Counting Crows or Hootie and the Blowfish or Third Eye Blind or Creed or Pearl Jam? It's as bad as non-stop calypso.

While we're on the subject, the Staggered Crossing is at the Sidetrack Cafe tomorrow night. The band is the latest Canadian signing from the Warner Music Canada label. They kind of sound like the Counting Crows. Naturally, the Bear added it right away.

Tickets are $7 in advance, $9 at the door. Opening will be the local band Three Days Wiser, no relation to Three Eyes Blind.

Where was I? Oh, yeah: Funny.

While thinking of something funny to write, I listened to the first track from Ben Sures' new CD, Live: Keep Fresh.

The first line spoke to me: "Sometimes a funny man is not so funny. His jokes just come out sour grapes. He would like to make you smile, but needs your shoulder for a while, 'cause he does not know how to say what he wants to anyway."

Oh, man ... how true.

Sures plays Wednesday at the New City Likwid Lounge. If you give him money, you'll get an advance copy of his upcoming studio album, which will come out whenever enough people give him money, plus a free copy of Live: Keep Fresh to tide you over. The gig is the only place you can get it. The CD and show are also two of the last places to experience Ben Sures the white folksinger-songwriter. He says he's tired of being a white folksinger-songwriter in competition with countless other white folksinger-songwriters and thus constantly being rejected by one folk festival after another. Plus, the white folksinger-songwriter genre has become a bit stale.

"It's gone from new and revolutionary and it's turned into sort of easy-listening music," he says. "It's like a lot of these people have had too much therapy or something. The live album is a way of capping the folk thing. I'm trying new things now. But I wanted to document me as that kind of artist."

Sures says he's in the process of reinventing himself. When the studio record comes out late this year, there might be a few surprised fans. He might even - gasp - go electric. Yes, shades of Bob Dylan.

For those who don't know, Sures is a short Jewish man with a wicked wit and a magical way with a folk song. He says his musical bent has less to do with his religious heritage than the fact both his parents are artists. A musician since the age of 18, Sures moved to Edmonton from Winnipeg about three years ago for some unexplained reason. Their loss is our gain.

He is also tremendously funny in his songs and his famous stage banter, both of which can be heard on Live: Keep Fresh. In case I haven't mentioned it, this is a live recording.

If you're into singalongs and don't have the energy to leave the house, this is a good pick for you. His song Stupid Stupid is a swell example: "Stupid, stupid, pretty dumb humans ... invented the light bulb so we could see the bill for the electricity." And so on.

You'll also get Part 3 of the continuing saga of The Hippo and the Canary. It's a twisted tale involving an alcoholic pop star and the man who loved her before supposedly stomping her flat and going to jail. The canary is the pop star, the hippo is the man.

"She's supposed to be dead with a very flat head, on the tale grows," Sures sings.

There will be a sequel.

It's not as if he can stop now.

Sures opens for himself on Wednesday, solo, and will hopefully be joined by a band later on.

Do yourself a favour and give him money.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Friday, January 14, 2000
He's a Sures thing, with great hair
By FISH GRIWKOWSKY
Express Writer
It needs saying right off the bat. Don't underestimate the seriousness of Ben Sures. He's what mean, tall girls might call a shorter guy, with an excellent mop of hair, the perfect image for his sassier, scrappier songs.

But it doesn't take much scraping to realize he's a seeker of the truth, a man who likes the way Charles Bukowski writes, for example, but not necessary the whorehouse filth he writes about.

A soulful humanitarian singer-songwriter, in short. "In my case it's a curse. You labour over these c - Edmonton Sun


(Contemporary; Singer-Songwriter)<br><br>"Quirky with twists and unusual turns of phrase"--Festival Distribution Newsletter. On No Absolutes (1994) Winnipeg singer-songwriter Ben Sures has released a debut album sure to catch your attention with its combination of unusual lyrics and excellent musicianship. The album has a solid backup cast, including Ron Casat on accordion, Tim Williams on guitar and mandolin, and supporting vocals by Jane Hawley and Jennifer Gibson. Highlights include "Things a Fella Won't Do," "Tired," "Everything I Do," and "No Absolutes." <br><br>Ooh Wah Baby (1997) is a head turner. Put this one in your CD player and people will stop to ask you who's performing. Sures' arresting lyrics combined with his excellent slide guitar playing creates an album that is varied, funny, touching and endearing, in equal parts. Produced by Sures, the album includes a cast of excellent musicians, including the Wyrd Sisters, background vocals; Jesse Hull, fiddle; Todd Kehler, bass; and Richard Moody, viola, mandolin and background vocals. <br><br> - Northern Journey Online


(Contemporary; Singer-Songwriter)<br><br>"Quirky with twists and unusual turns of phrase"--Festival Distribution Newsletter. On No Absolutes (1994) Winnipeg singer-songwriter Ben Sures has released a debut album sure to catch your attention with its combination of unusual lyrics and excellent musicianship. The album has a solid backup cast, including Ron Casat on accordion, Tim Williams on guitar and mandolin, and supporting vocals by Jane Hawley and Jennifer Gibson. Highlights include "Things a Fella Won't Do," "Tired," "Everything I Do," and "No Absolutes." <br><br>Ooh Wah Baby (1997) is a head turner. Put this one in your CD player and people will stop to ask you who's performing. Sures' arresting lyrics combined with his excellent slide guitar playing creates an album that is varied, funny, touching and endearing, in equal parts. Produced by Sures, the album includes a cast of excellent musicians, including the Wyrd Sisters, background vocals; Jesse Hull, fiddle; Todd Kehler, bass; and Richard Moody, viola, mandolin and background vocals. <br><br> - Northern Journey Online


Most easily described as the best of Tom Waits combined with the best of Woodpigeon, Ben Sures is just as musically talented as he is a dynamic songwriter. And he is a wonderfully dynamic songwriter. With a repertoire of songs that range from the vividly romantic “Dancer” to the edgy “Drunk and In My Kitchen” to the oddball “Lettuce and Tomato,” Sures is an artistic force to be reckoned with.

That said, one does sometimes wish Sures were a bit more varied and intense in his vocal emotion. However, the charming lyrics, and the expertly executed and imaginative instrumentals more than make up for this shortcoming. Truly, anyone who was expecting Field Guide to Loneliness to be a droning, depressing album about solitude is in for a shock. It is actually refreshingly upbeat and is, so far, the best folk album of the year.
Bryan Saunders
- Vue Weekly


Perverse as it seems, I like it when Ben Sures has those crushing epiphanies that threaten to overwhelm his life. Sometimes too damn clever for his own good, he can unwind into polished singer-songwriter mode at the drop of a hat – a Western Canadian version of Paul Simon's perennial '70s New York alienation schtick – or often forgettable jaunty little throwaway ditties. Peel off the veneer of crafted folk singer melancholy, however, and you get the barely contained horror of Martin Sheen drunkenly inspecting the mirror in Hanoi. Sures may not be smashing the glass that winks sternly back at him, but he seems pretty close on parts of Field Guide To Loneliness – lamenting the disuse of recently acquired culinary skills on 'Til I Learned To Cook For You, watching with unblinking eyes a man unable to move in Man on the Verge, mixed feelings about his hometown of Winnipeg. That's Sures at his most unguarded, but even when he puts off such mordant thoughts his craftsmanship and musical range is impressive - Used to Have a Raygun utilizes distorted vocals and slapped knees for rhythm, oscillator solo in between verses, while a very Dylanesque sneer creeps through the lacerating Who Killed the Last Folk Singer?

Tom Murray - Penguin Eggs


Discography

Son of Trouble-2013
Gone to Bolivia- 2011
Field Guide To Loneliness- 2008
Good-bye Pretty Girl-May 2004
Live: Keep Fresh-2001
Ooh Wah Baby-1997
No Absolutes-1994

Photos

Bio

Ben Sures songs are  uniquely thought out and delivered. His side of every story is the one that makes you think, 'that makes sense and why didn't I think of that?'.

Fans say,

'he sings out loud what everyone thinks but doesn't  ever say'. 

If you were to describe his performance style   very melodic, great acoustic playing , excellent storytelling and moments of stomach clutching hilarity.  When he performs solo, he takes you in on his storytelling journey, he connects with the audience, when he performs with a group his gifts on the guitar really come alive and the powerful melodies become center stage from the back up vocals . Deceivingly down to earth, he is so comfortable on stage, sometimes you forget there is  a stage and this is a concert going on.

he has toured Canada, The UK and performed in Beirut, Lebanon.

The  umbrella of influences would be Canadian singer songwriters, West African guitar, folk guitar, D'Gary, Paul SImon, Robert Johnson, Django Reinhardt, modern folk pop ad new acoustic music. Ben sings in Spanish , French and mostly English.

Ben performs solo, with an acoustic trio, full band and recently a 25 piece big band for a special event at The Citadel Theatre in Edmotnon. 

Ben has shared festival stages with Ani Difranco, Dave Van Ronk, JP Cormier, Burton Cummings, Spirit of The West, Ferron and more. 

Ben Sures is the 2005 winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the folk category (out of 15000 entrants). He has performed at many of Canada's folk festivals and has regularly been featured on CBC Radio for over two decades.

Born a month after Woody Guthrie passed away, Ben took up the the folk hero's torch early in life and continued the tradition of writing and performing songs that tell small stories in a big way.

This natural storyteller and guitar player draws the listener in to his musical world from the very opening line. A unique perspective, a great story, and a melodic heartbeat are what create Ben's engaging performances. 

Don Kerr, producer of Ben's latest album, calls his songs "little energy bars" and James Keelaghan once declared him "the bravest songwriter in Canada".

Ben has seven acclaimed recordings to his credit and is also semi-regular music guest on CBC Radio's nationally produced sketch comedy program 'The Irrelevant Show'.

Ben has appeared eight times at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, and has also performed at the North and South Country Fairs, the Edmonton, Regina, Brandon, Calgary, Live from The Rock, Northern Lights, and Islands Folk Festivals (among others), as well as countless house concerts, bars, and folk clubs. One concert Ben performed in Saskatoon was filmed as a pilot for what became an SCN-TV concert series called 'The Neighbour's Dog'.

Sures is a Lennon Award first place winner in the Folk category of The John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and 2nd place winner in the AAA category of The International Songwriting Contest for his song 'Any Precious Girl'.

His latest album 'Son of Trouble' is receiving rave reviews.






Band Members