Performer in the American singer/songwriter tradition with a dark sensibility and light touch, utilizing new sounds and tools to convey an atmospheric, evocative sound.


Earlwine has returned to the Austin area after an extended foray to the respective coasts of America. His music represents a cultural stew of American influences, spanning from deep blues traditions to country to hip-hop and ambient electronica. Though his music defies easy categorization, a sense of gravitas and reckoning colors every song. Manifold stylistic influences bubbling up from the continuous wellspring of American musical idioms continue to influence his songwriting and production.

After a stint in San Francisco playing drums, guitar, banjo and accordion with a series of bands, including "The Funkmobile" and "Sexfresh," Earlwine stopped back in Texas to record his album "Songs for the New Depression," an independently produced album characterized by gutbucket beats, found vintage electronics and the dirty, dirty blues, prompting comparisons to Beck, Tom Waits and even Dire Straits. This was released under Earlwine's Christian name "Ben Ratliff" and is also available on CD Baby.

In New York, Earlwine played a series of gigs with a band and solo acoustic. He developed a more reflective and pensive sound while playing local venues like Fez, Makor, Arlene's Grocery and other popular New York establishments. Earlwine also frequently performed as his alter-ego "Paco Doubledown," a tux-wearing seasoned career entertainer in the Catskills mold currently down on his luck.

After recording the bulk of his second full solo album "Low Frequency Hum," he returned to his home of Austin, Texas in 2007 to release the album on new label aMerkin.com.

With his new name came a new direction. While "Low Frequency Hum" shares a dystopic vision with "Songs for the New Depression," there is also an undercurrent of hopeful naivete. The Waitsian and slightly tounge-in-cheek "Dark Nacht" chronicles an empire of excess run by a secret cabal of power-hungry fools, while "When We Were Young" hearkens back to a more innocent time in the speaker's life. "Low Frequency Hum" portrays a world off its axis and a country that has lost its vision, but also holds a flame of hope for the common decency of individuals.

Under the auspices of aMerkin.com, Earlwine is marketing his album directly to the public and pursuing licensing opportunities for his music. He is planning an American tour in the fall and a European tour in 2008.


The Fainting Room, (Sexfresh), 2001
Vacancy, (Sexfresh), 2003
Misplaced Desire, (Ben Ratliff) 2003
Songs for the New Depression, (Ben Ratliff) 2004
Low Frequency Hum, 2007

Set List

Typical set is 45 minutes, combining material from earlier releases with new material.