Garrin Benfield with Gratefully Yours
Interpreting the Grateful Dead
Interpreting the Grateful Dead
Garrin plays online in the round as part of the “Voices in the Heights” showcase.
Interpreting the Grateful Dead
Lovingly recorded to capture every breathy nuance, this collection of in studio solo performances is an unadorned and chillingly intimate emotional travelogue. Intimate vocals with fingerpicked electric guitar accompaniment.
In an age when “tracks” have overtaken the art of the album, Garrin Benfield announces the release of “The Wave Organ Song”, a hauntingly honest song cycle that captures an artist who has tapped into a wellspring of inspiration. “The Wave Organ Song” is a perfectly paced musical journey that might best be accompanied by candlelight and a bottle of Pinot Noir. Lovingly recorded to capture every breathy nuance, this collection of in-studio solo performances is an unadorned and chillingly intimate emotional travelogue. With the gauzy backdrop of San Francisco, Benfield sings of attempting to emerge from a self-imposed isolation to once again connect with what moves us to create in the first place. While the lyrics are serious, the shimmering melodies make this a collection that reaches out and quietly insists on itself.
Known as a road warrior and guitar innovator who has spent years developing a complex, loop-driven solo show, on “The Wave Organ Song” Benfield eschews a traditional display of virtuosity and instead focuses on his voice and gently fingerpicked electric guitar accompaniment. He stumbled on this approach while deep into the overdub process of the now abandoned first sessions for this album. “It seemed the more layers we added, the farther away we were getting from the essence of the material”, Benfield recalls. In an effort to refocus, he recorded a few solo versions of the tunes and immediately felt that he had hit on something more true. Abandoning the full-band versions of the new songs, Benfield and engineer/co-producer Michael Rodriguez started over, and “The Wave Organ Song” began to take its current form.
“This was as difficult as any recording project I’ve been a part of. Maybe more so because I was trying to get complete, unedited takes”, said Benfield. He was not alone in this effort, however. “The Wave Organ Song” also features Benfield’s first lyrical collaborations, with Jason Durant and, on one song, Deanna Walker. “If one thing was going to prevent me from finishing a song, sometimes for years, it would be a missing verse or bridge. So working with those two was very motivating”, Benfield said. Their efforts yielded songs that travel gently from the deeply personal (“Moanin’ Low”, “No Compass”) to narratives so detailed as to be cinematic (“Mexico”, “Snakes in the Woodpile”). In between, Benfield hits on universal sentiments with innovative Americana settings (“Rock n’ Roll”, “Are You With Me”), and indulges his pop leanings (“Colors in You” and his cover of the recently deceased Alex Chilton’s “Thirteen”). For those who think they know Benfield, this release will reveal an artist who is truly in the zone, with the newfound maturity to deliver a song straight to the heart.
“The Wave Organ Song” is Garrin Benfield’s fifth full length CD of original songs. He gained notice in 2000 with his stark tribute to Matthew Shepard, “What You’re Hiding”, which was used in a production of the Laramie Project. In 2002, after recording his second CD, “Nowhere is Brighter” with Bonnie Raitt’s rhythm section and guest Boz Scaggs, Benfield took up a relentless touring schedule, both as a solo artist and with his band. Some of these increasingly improvisation-heavy sets were documented on the 2003 release “August Live”. 2004 saw the release of “Where Joy Kills Sorrow”, and Benfield’s first foray into live improvisational looping, which enabled him to tour solo but with added layers of beats, bass lines and the searing lead guitar Benfield’s hardcore fans have come to expect. Playing eclectic sets at hundreds of shows every year, Benfield has become an underground favorite at festivals, rock clubs, coffeehouses and house concerts.
The album, being released on Zacksongs, contains 11 tracks of diverse original material with Garrin's words, voice, and guitar as its centerpiece. From the concise, electric Beatle-esque pop of "What You Wanted to Hear" and "Answers" to the aggressive, pu
Zacksongs Music announces the release of Garrin Benfield's third full-length studio CD, Where Joy Kills Sorrow. The album, being released on Zacksongs, contains 11 tracks of diverse original material with Garrin's words, voice, and guitar as its centerpiece. From the concise, electric Beatle-esque pop of "What You Wanted to Hear" and "Answers" to the aggressive, punky throttle of "Don't Panic", this CD balances song craft, melodic innovation, and a radio friendly aesthetic that has become Benfield's focus. Where Joy Kills Sorrow is a journey that also includes lush acoustic balladry, ambitious guitar excursions, and direct, thought provoking lyrics.
Where Joy Kills Sorrow is BenfieldÂ©Ës most radio friendly and concise collection of songs. At the same time, this record is more acute in it's musical accomplishments. The result is a blend of complex arrangements and serious pop. Benfield performs all vocals, guitar, baritone guitar, mandolin and much of the bass guitar parts on the album. All 11 tracks are full-band recordings using Benfield's regular performing band.
Benfield's desire to take greater control over his music also spilled over into his career. This release is the first studio effort on independent record label, Zacksongs Music. The Zacksongs crew handles all of the administrative components of this release and upcoming tours. In addition, Zacksongs has secured the talents of "Flanagan Promotions", who will head the effort to expose the record to larger audiences through radio play and retail placement. As for Zack, he was a dear old dog.
History: * In early 2004 Zacksongs releases a collection of live material consisting of Benfield's concert staples titled August Live. The disc was recorded while Benfield was on tour opening for Boz Scaggs in the summer of 03.
In 2003 Benfield contributes songs to compilation CDs for the Not in Our Name Project (along with Ani DiFranco, Michael Franti and Charlie Hunter) and Performing Songwriter Magazine.
In 2002 Benfield's critically acclaimed CD Nowhere is Brighter is released. Alongside Benfield is Bonnie RaittÂ©Ës band and special guest Boz Scaggs. The disc is named "Top 10 CD of 2002" by Performing Song writer and Acoustic Guitar Magazines. Benfield tours US as a solo performer and with his regular, touring band, appearing at some of the most highly regarded venues in the country. He is regularly asked to perform with major label and other known artists.
In 2001 Benfield continued regular national touring, hosted a monthly songwriter series in San Francisco and was a finalist in the Telluride Troubadour Competition.
In 2000 Benfield releases his debut album Living A Dream to high praise. Among the 13 tracks on the album was the startling tribute to murder victim Matthew Shepard that is nominated for an award oppo site Melissa Etheridge and the Indigo Girls.
Benfield grew up the youngest of nine children in Westchester County, New York and moved to Northampton MA to attend Hampshire College. It was at Hampshire that Garrin started and played bass in his band Maya that later moved with him to San Francisco.