Nov 30 – Dec 3 // Artist in Residence

Home City: Louisville, KY

Ten years ago Kentucky native Ben Sollee came to prominence singing Sam Cooke while playing the cello. The NPR sensation was not a backwoods novelty. Sollee’s spare, exultant interpretation of “A Change is Gonna Come” announced the arrival of a relentlessly curious musical soul for whom change constantly comes.

In the decade following Sollee has recorded roughly an album a year (and nearly that many EPs), in a daunting variety of settings. He has played with trance bluesman Otis Taylor, with banjo virtuosos Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck (in the Sparrow Quartet, with Casey Driessen), and collaborated with Jim James of My Morning Jacket, with DJs, acoustic musicians, visual artists, software specialists and environmentalists. He has composed ballets and music for films and for stage. He has helped raise his son and support his family with an ambitious tour schedule. He has cycled 5,000 miles by bike, towing his cello “Kay” behind him as part of the “Ditch The Van” tours.

He has relentlessly made and studied and thought about art and the environment. And life, and how to make the world around him better.

During his residency here at the Music District, Ben led a free, hour long cello workshop for 15 attendees. Even more, Ben along with The Subdudes’ John Magnie and his son, Bo Magnie collaborated on a song on Friday, December 2nd 2017. Ben used his residency at the Music District to help John refine a song the Magnie family started writing in the wake of Hurricane Irma, which forced Bo and his family to evacuate their home on St. John (U.S. Virgin Islands) in September 2017.

Ben also led a bike parade to New Belgium Brewery where he screened his short filmabout bike touring and played a short set opening for Poet’s Row.