It has been four years since we last featured the noirish Americana of Ben de la Cour, and eight years since we first featured him. He has a new album just out, Shadow Land which we’re enjoying a hell of a lot.
The record is jam-packed with soul-bearing songs about loss, danger, addiction and longing. It is a darkly beautiful meditation on what it means to be human. Ben’s voice renders emotion with authority as he recounts tales of suspicious characters; lost lovers, bank robbers, suicides, mental illness, ghoul-haunted pool halls and murders in front of ghoul-haunted pool halls.He suffers from addiction and mental illness, and before he checked himself into rehab, he wrote a 50 page grant to the Winnipeg government and received funds to record with his dream producer, Scott Nolan.
So here are three favourites of ours from the record. Watch the video for the haunting, heartbreaking From Now On, and stream the boogie-woogie piano and Joe Strummer snarl of The Basin Lounge and then God’s Only Son, a gut-bucket western that sounds like Ennio Morricone being fed through a meat grinder about a bank-robbing drifter who may or may not believe he is the messiah.
We double crossed the county line
Two hornets in a still
Johnny folded there in the backseat
Like a blood soaked dollar bill
Let me tell you now getting gut shot
It ain’t how it looks on screen
The whole car was shaking with screaming and crying
Stank like death and gasoline
Buy the album here.