Benjamin Wagner | Bloom

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Rock: Modern Rock Rock: Acoustic
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by Benjamin Wagner

1994 debut album that evokes the essence of acoustic modern rock.
Genre: Rock: Modern Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Late November Mind
4:59 album only
2. Kathryn (of a Thousand Faces)
3:49 album only
3. She Said, She Said
3:34 album only
4. Continental Drift
4:44 album only
5. Red River Fall
4:24 album only
6. Natural Disaster
3:52 album only
7. Point Hope Solstice
3:56 album only
8. Ribbon
5:13 album only
9. Snapshot Summertime
4:19 album only


Album Notes
Benjamin Wagner may just be the nicest guy in the Capital District.

For some reason, he just exudes friendliness, onstage and off. The 22-year-old, a recent transplant to Saratoga Springs, does not look like the typical introspective songer/songwriter type. For one thing, except for the lack of a rich tan, he could easily pass for a West Coast beach bum. For another, onstage at Caffe Lena on May 2, he wore no black.

His music, though, is intriguing. On stage alone, he was somehow able to conjur up other instruments. Hi sguitar work hinted at a larger sound, and I could almost almost here a bass here, a cello there, a full band backing him up during the choruses.

It's not especially surprising, though, as Wagner did lead a band, Smokey Junglefrog, back in Syracuse that was nominated for a SAMMY (Syracuse Area Music Award) for Best Alternative Band in 1992. Releasing a solo album, "Always Almost There", just four months after the band's breakup, Wagner earned himself a nomination for Best New Artist at this year's SAMMYs. The show at Lena was a release party for his new album, "Bloom."

Although he's new to the area, Wagner has already hooked up with Carl Landa, who co-produced the album with Wagner. The result is the first album from a locally-based male folk singer/songwriter type that I've heard since moving to the area myself, and it's a darned good first impression.

It's impossible not to compare Wagner to others who have mined the same musical vein -- elements of everyone from James Talor, Michael Penn, Jeffrey Gaines and Suzanne Vega are all present. His voice, as opposed to the power vocals that many young rockers go for, is pitched a little higher, but still carries a richness. Both strong and delicate, Wagner's vocals convey an emotional sincerity of love and loneliness that is comparable to the power with which Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan conveys his alienation to thousands of plaid clad disenfranchised youth.

Wagners vocals, though, are even more remarkable for the message they carry. As a lyricist, he's on the scale of Tina Ward for sheer pleasure and peerless for the way that his words paint a picture and set a scene.

On "Bloom," Wagner utilizes the services of Carl Landa and Mike Migliozzi on purcussion, Raphael Chevalier on violin, Nate Barr on cello, and Eric Gilman as a second guitarist, but on stage he appears alone with his guitar. The accompanying instruments, though, are not missed in the solo setting.

--Randy Silver (The Source)



to write a review

great work lyrics that let you think
Since meeting him in an arts fair in Waterville Ohio and buying this CD from his guitar case, I am a fan. Lyrics are thinking mans gold and I know and admire, Katherine of a million faces as much as I fear for the one that has been promised that he will remember his one face. Buy this and see for yourself and .....beware the Red River.