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BRENDAN BENSON

Brendan Benson

Dear Life

    “There's something about this record,” Benson says, describing his Third Man Records debut album Dear Life. “A friend of mine called it ‘life-affirming.’ I thought it was a joke at first but then realized, well, it’s about life and death for sure. I don’t know if that’s positive or optimistic or whatever, but that's what's going on with me.”

    Brendan Benson finds himself in an enviable spot as he enters the third decade of a remarkably creative, consistently idiosyncratic career – an accomplished frontman, musician, songwriter, producer, band member, husband, and dad. Benson’s seventh solo album, and first new LP in almost seven years, Dear Life is this consummate polymath’s most inventive and upbeat work thus far, an 11-track song cycle about life, love, family, fatherhood, and the pure joy of making music. Produced and almost entirely performed by Benson at his own Readymade Studio in Nashville, the album sees the Michigan-born, Nashville-based artist – and co-founder, with Jack White, of The Raconteurs – reveling in a more modernist approach than ever before, fueled by a heady brew of cannabis, hip-hop, and a newly discovered interest in software drum programming. The result is an untapped playfulness that elevates expertly crafted songs like the opener, “I Can If You Want Me To,” and the first single, “Good To Be Alive,” with voluble arrangements, elastic grooves, and incandescent power. Imbued with revitalized ambition and confidence, Dear Life is Brendan Benson at his very best.

    Beginning with his now-classic 1996 major label debut, One Mississippi – recently reissued by Third Man in its first-ever vinyl pressing – and its masterful 2002 follow-up, Lapalco, Benson has always infused classic craftsmanship with contemporary invention. Along with his own critically acclaimed canon, Benson is of course co-founder – with Jack White, Jack Lawrence, and Patrick Keeler – of The Raconteurs. The band first convened in 2006, winning worldwide acclaim, Grammy Award nominations, and a chart-topping smash single in “Steady As She Goes,” with their now-classic debut album, Broken Boy Soldiers The Raconteurs returned two short years later with 2008’s Consolers Of The Lonely. Like its predecessor, the LP proved a popular and critical phenomenon, earning the Grammy Award for “Best Engineered Non-Classical Album” as well as a nomination as “Best Rock Album.”

    Dear Life came about gradually and organically after a self-imposed creative hiatus rooted in the happy arrival of his son and later, a daughter. Having spent the majority of his adult life on the road, Benson decided he’d prefer to stay home for a change and just be a dad. “I just couldn’t bear the thought of leaving,” he says. “I was so enamored with my kids, I just sort of lost touch with my career. I just didn’t want to go back to work.” Instead, Benson directed his musical energies elsewhere and fast proved an in-demand producer/engineer (Robyn Hitchcock, Young The Giant, Trapper Schoepp, The Greenhornes) and collaborative songwriter, with a CV that includes partnerships with Jake Bugg, Iain Archer (Snow Patrol), and The Kooks’ Luke Pritchard, among others. Despite his successes, after a few years in this voluntary wilderness, Benson surprised himself in 2017 by writing and recording the rocker “Half A Boy (And Half A Man).” “It just felt really good,” he says. “I felt like I was like born again. Seriously, it was almost a religious experience, like, oh my God, I love making music. I had forgotten. That’s how it started. It was kind of a spark. A re-ignition.”

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Transparent pink vinyl.

    Sometimes, all you need is a little push. After acclaimed singer-songwriter Brendan Benson released his 2012 album What Kind of World, his manager suggested he launch a monthly singles series. He was a bit hesitant at first, but eventually he came around. And now, just a year after What Kind of World, Benson is back with You Were Right, which collects both the releases from the series as well as reworked versions of songs that didn’t quite fit on his previous albums. You Were Right finds Benson squarely in his jangly power-pop groove, while also finding room for him to explore his more experimental impulses.

    Benson recorded You Were Right in his own Readymade Studios, and will release the album on his own Readymade Records in the US with label partner Lojinx releasing it in the UK & Europe.

    Being in charge of both the production and release gave Benson the peace of mind to make exactly the record he wanted, all on his own terms. From his home in Nashville, Tennessee, here is Benson on being the boss and finding his place in the music industry.

    Brendan Benson

    What Kind Of World

      Self-produced and recorded in the analog-only environs of Nashville’s ‘Welcome to 1979’ studios, What Kind Of World features members of Big Star, Ryan Adams' the Cardinals and Phantom Planet.

      Co-founder of The Raconteurs, Benson has spent a lifetime spread across four states, from a childhood spent on the outskirts of New Orleans, to his years in Detroit, Michigan, sojourns in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and a more recent relocation to Nashville, Tennessee. With five solo albums, one as Well & Goode and two albums apiece with The Mood Elevator and Raconteurs, he has captured his own America in finely hewn power pop.

      Created as an outlet for his own writing and production work, Benson’s Nashville based label Readymade Records & Publishing will follow the release of What Kind Of World with the debut album from Young Hines in May, produced by Benson himself.



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