There are singer-songwriters, and there are troubadours. Singer-songwriters are sensitive, polished souls, sharing their journal entries with the world… whereas troubadours do their best just to stay out of jail. In the wake of Ben de la Cour’s astonishing new record, Shadow Land, you can add his name to the top of the list of younger troubadours to whom this ever-so-occasionally poisoned chalice is being passed.
To say Ben de la Cour has lived an eventful life in the course of keeping that flame lit is to put it mildly. As young man he was a successful amateur boxer (taking in the lithe frame he sports today and his aquiline undamaged features, you’d never know that small-time pugilism was ever a feature of his life) which may have inspired the line “never trust any man / if he don’t have no scars”. After playing New York City dives like CBGBs with his brother a decade before he could legally drink, he had already stuffed himself into a bottle of bourbon and pulled the cork in tight over his head by the time he was twenty-one. There were arrests, homes in tough neighborhoods all over the world, countless false starts as well as stays in psychiatric hospitals and rehabs as Ben battled with mental health and substance abuse issues. But in 2013 he finally found himself in East Nashville and 2020 saw the release of far and away the best of his four albums - Shadow Land.
Ben de la Cour’s music has been featured on SiriusXM Outlaw Country, BBC Radio and NPR while receiving high praise from American Songwriter, Maverick Magazine, No Depression, Twangville, Dusted Magazine and Daytrotter amongst others. He is a former Kerrville New Folk Winner and currently spends over a hundred days a year on the road touring the U.S, Canada, Europe, and Australia.
Learn more at https://www.bendelacour.com
Tui (too-wee) is an internationally touring old-time duo made up of Jake Blount and Libby Weitnauer. They draw inspiration equally from rare archival recordings, the music of their peers, and extensive experiences with other genres of music; Blount spent years as a funk and metal guitarist, and Weitnauer has an M.A. in classical violin performances from NYU. Tui's diverse influences enable them to create music that is innovative and technically demanding, yet accessible and affecting as only old songs can be. They released their debut album, Pretty Little Mister, June 28, 2019.
Jake Blount is an award-winning banjoist, fiddler, singer and scholar based in Providence, RI. He is a 2020 Strathmore Artist in Residence and a board member of Bluegrass Pride. He is a 2020 recipient of the Steve Martin Banjo Prize. Although he is proficient in multiple performance styles, he specializes in the music of Black and indigenous communities in the southeastern United States, and in the regional style of Ithaca, New York. He foregrounds the experiences of queer people and people of color in his work. He has studied with modern masters of old-time music, including Bruce Molsky, Judy Hyman (of the Horse Flies), and Rhiannon Giddens and Hubby Jenkins (of the GRAMMY-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops).
Fiddler and singer Libby Weitnauer has degrees in classical violin performance from DePaul University and New York University, but she finds her voice in the traditional music of Appalachia. She has performed in a wide array of venues and concert halls from Broadway to presenting research at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Learn more at https://www.tuiband.com