Ben Sollee is a local music scene’s national hero. After a decade of touring out from his home state of Kentucky, he’s proven to his friends, family and fanbase that he is the kind of artist who isn’t afraid to commit to a goal or a cause. From a nation wide music tour on bicycle to an upcoming collaboration with recent MUSE grant recipients Sustain Music and Nature, Ben is always bringing the meaning in his music to life.
From the standpoint of a musician, Ben’s career has been a model in diversity and commitment to craft. Starting cello at an early age playing appalachian music with his grandfather, Ben soon found his to way to classical music. He quickly teamed up with folk icons Abagail Washburn and Otis Taylor and brought the sound of the cello into new genres and styles. This eventually led to the release of his first solo album, “Learning to Bend”, with a cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” that propelled Ben onto the national music scene and earned him a place in the upper tiers of contemporary acoustic musicians.
Ben brought all of this experience and diversity to Fort Collins with a residency at The Music District in December of 2017. While on campus, he offered a free contemporary cello workshop for the public, then spent the afternoon co-writing a new song with local legend John Magnie of the Sub Dudes. Capping off his first night was a community bike ride from The Music District to New Belgium where Ben showed a screening of his award-winning documentary about bicycle touring and played a few tunes with Denver band Poet’s Row. The weekend culminated in a performance with his new project, Kentucky Native, at The Armory with Fort Collins resident and Music District staffer Kyle James Hauser (whose album Ben recorded on in Fort Collins in 2011). Ben plans a return to Fort Collins in May to record at Swingfingers Studios, a world-class recording studio in Fort Collins owned and operated by members of the band FY5. He’ll also be appearing that weekend to promote his collaboration with Sustain Music and Nature to celebrate their arrival to our city.
Check out a short film documenting the collaboration between Ben Sollee and John Magnie below!
Check out more of Ben Sollee on his website.