New Live Album "Garrin Benfield" Available Now!
Some creative projects are better left unplanned. Sometimes stepping out of the way and letting the music happen without any particular destination in mind produces the most honest results. It is in this spirit of improvisation that Garrin Benfield announces the release of a self-titled live album recorded at a few solo acoustic gigs in the Summer of 2018.
“The whole thing feels like kismet to me”, Garrin recalls. “I had been playing a lot of gigs without the addition of the live looping jams, and started to feel like I wanted to document how my unadorned acoustic shows were sounding. I just happened to mention to the engineer at one of the gigs that it would be cool to record the shows, because I loved the way he was mixing them. When he sent me the files, enough time had passed that I had the perspective to hear that these recordings had potential for a release, which we started preparing via email right away.”
Though eclectic in its source material, the album manages to be cohesive in Benfield’s nuanced delivery and in the warm production quality that is a document of how the shows actually sounded.
Garrin Benfield with Chris Pureka
Garrin opens for Chris in the main room!
"Garrin achieves an impact way beyond the constraints of the average solo singer songwriter performance. His guitar improvisations dazzle even the pickiest of aficionados. His 5th recording, The Wave Organ Song, establishes him as one of the best songwriters in the country."
--San Francisco Free Folk Festival 2012
"Just one voice and one guitar but The Wave Organ Song (released May 17) wants for nothing. The fifth full-length from Garrin Benfield finds the SF/NYC singer-songwriter stripping back the layers to reveal a shining core composed of gorgeous, emotional guitar work and a voice comparable to 70s luminaries James Taylor and John Denver muddled with the open-wound ache of Elliott Smith. The tunes are similarly meshed, conjuring both Hunter/Garcia ballads and classic radio fare, approachable but exposed, intimate but universal in nature.
But this is also music for the road, a lovely song cycle for finding one’s way in the world after they’ve gotten lost, a balm for sore hearts, and tentative encouragement to love again, knowing full well the dangers. It is a beautiful album full of the strongest original material yet penned by Benfield and capped off with a sparkling cover of Big Star’s “Thirteen,” an invitation to walk home from school together and perhaps be outlaws for love & life. The hurt and the hope of The Wave Organ Song are equally genuine and measured out with a careful hand, a bittersweet concoction that lingers long after one’s first taste. "
--Dennis Cook, jambase.com, May 2011
"Garrin Benfield is a busy, busy fellow, splitting his time between NY and SF and continuing to enrich the music scene of both cities. He's no stranger to Acoustic Sunrise - Rosalie has been onto him for years - but it's the new song 'Walkin' Time Blues' that offers us a delicious slice of San Francisco."
-- Renee Richardson, KFOG Radio, SF CA, August 2011
Garrin Benfield’s latest effort, The Wave Organ Song, shows off a much more sincere and simplistic sound than his previous albums...Benfield took to the studio and created a solo album with lyrical contributions by Jason Durant and Deanna Walker, and his sound becomes more authentic. With Benfield directing his new focus toward impassioned acoustic guitar plucking paired with his melodic lullaby-voice, the album comes across as a heartfelt narrative that is instantly relatable and distinctive. The seemingly effortless and haunting “mexico” stands out as one of the album’s best songs.
-- Chelsea Eriksen, Relix Magazine, December 2011
Garrin Benfield is an extremely gifted songwriter and singer. The first time I put this CD on I was totally blown away by the sensitive lyrics and emotional delivery of each line. A gem of a record.
--Mike Hyland, Sonoma Sun, January 2012
"There is only Garrin and his guitar on “The Wave Organ Song” and the album is real and completely honest in its minimally produced state, allowing the musician alone to carry the weight of each song — not something everyone is capable of doing, but Garrin Benfield is. Although not a themed album, the songs have a common thread in the narration and unfold like one long story.”The Wave Organ Song” is contemplative, and the entire album sounds like a live recording of a rare, significant night at an intimate folk club. The stuff legends are made of.
Although each song is performed by a man with a guitar, the album is far from dull. In its entirety it is charming, heartbreaking, uplifting, and pensive. It is the contrasts present in the songs — beautiful poetry tied with sometimes sad realities — that pronounce the majestic grace of “The Wave Organ Song.” Each song is familiar but different from the previous one, and the album is a tapestry of emotions woven into tales. Every nuance in Benfield’s voice, every emphasis, every change in dynamics, and even every silence creates character in the music. In all its musical perfection the album is first and foremost an expression of the beauty of humanity, and “The Wave Organ Song” is a stunning album of lyrical beauty and power."
-- Rachel Timan, ammuse web blog, April 2011.
"I've never known or heard an artist quite like Garrin Benfield. His new CD is just pure Garrin! "The Wave Organ Song" easily demonstrates that his songwriting skills, voice and guitar playing have excelled to the point that he deserves international attention. His soothing voice speaks directly to one's soul..."
-- Lucian Williams, RFD Magazine, Summer 2011.
"There's a note of urgency and purposefulness that underlies The Wave Organ Song. Benfield isn't just a lone man with an acoustic guitar. He's a seeker."
-- Rachel Swan, East Bay Express, April 2011
"This solo effort, his fifth release, is a collection of intensely personal vignettes that also have universal appeal. Most of them are centered on a delicately picked acoustic guitar and all feature his warm voice. "Walkin' Time Blues" is a mini-tour of San Francisco and has some appealing blues riffs."
-- Sing Out Magazine, February 2012
"Garrin's latest release is a 13 song compilation that you'd want to hear on a Sunday morning, sipping coffee, reflecting on life and watching the day take shape. The songs show Garrin's amazing ability as a poet and storyteller. He's able to create images with his prose and could sing beautiful lullabies all night long."
-- Jam Band Friendly, February 2012
"An intimate and confident affair on which there is nothing to distract the listener from the music"
-- Gregg Shapiro, Bay Area Reporter, June 2011
-- Aidin Vaziri, San Francisco Chronicle, May 2011
"Gorgeous. Possibly his most beautiful album, but it's hard to choose because all of his albums are just beautiful."
-- David Wiegand, The Do List, KQED, May 2011
"I first met Garrin Benfield at a small café in the Richmond District, and even then, he carried himself differently than the rest of the crowd. His sensitivity and innate talent as a musician and lyricist has come full circle since those early guitar-in-hand days here in the City, and ironically, this collection of musings rose out of the experience of leaving San Francisco for New York earlier this year. Best Cut: “Rock ‘n Roll.” Location: Headphone listening under the covers."
-- San Francisco Bay Times, June 2011
"Benfield can command the attention of seasoned players and improvise with the dexterity of players many years his senior"
-- Petaluma360.com, June 2011
"The unadorned 13 tracks run together at a calm tempo and each song feeds off the previous one, including a cover of Alex Chilton’s rebel ballad, “Thirteen.” Benfield’s innovative guitar style adds the illusion of a rhythm section, resulting in a much fuller feel on pieces like the classic blues-driven “Walkin’ Time Blues,” which strolls along at the pace of a Sunday drive as the narrator ponders “staying in the Mission all night.”
-- Monterey County Weekly, June 2011