Ben Glover – Atlantic (Rating 4 out of 5)
Ben Glover might be the love child of Vance Joy and Steve Earle. Northern Ireland based, he splits his time between his home country and the American Southwest, and it shows all over Atlantic, one of the best auditory adventures your ears will embark on all year. While the album has the feel of wandering into a kick-ass open mic night in terms of the looseness vibe that seems to wash over you, in the hands of a true professional, everything feels mellow and thought provoking.
The Americana landscape of the journey shows up on “Too Long Gone,” a song that comes right from the Ray Wylie Hubbard school of back-alley noir, and “Old Soul” has the songwriting chops of back in the day Steve Earle with a voice that is fairly similar. The Rock moments on the record never push things out of bounds, but rather provide an energy that Tesla would be proud of, and on “Take and Pay” Glover displays his rock chops in spades.
And oh yeah, the guy can flat out write, check out the pull you into the portrait imagery of “Prisoner” with the stunning opening lines:
She, she told me
She hid the gun in the potter’s field
Covered it in delta mud
Underneath the pecan tree
She drew a map
On my hand with a red ink pen
Said ‘Meet me here in the parking lot
Don’t say a word, I swear to God’
And it get’s better, like a Cormac McCarty novel. Having cut his chops playing songs from The Pogues in Boston Bars, and Dylan and Johnny Cash in the pubs of his home town of Glenarm, Ireland, the intersection of both worlds is working to perfection. You will come for the songs, but you will stay for the lyrics, which probably comes as no surprise as he wrote many of these songs with Mary Gauthier, Gretchen Peters, Neilsson Hubbard, and Rod Picott. This one might be the best record of the year. Stay tuned.