I love Ben Sures.
He’s a wonderfully multi-talented guy – an absolutely original singer-songwriter with a quirky approach to songwriting and a lot of unique takes on the world around him, which many people would be sympathetic to. He’s also a great musician who’s been moonlighting as a sideman since the start of his career. He’s a funny guy; he was a regular musical contributor to the CBC Radio sketch comedy program The Irrelevant Show. And he’s a damn good painter too. He’s got the gallery shows to prove it.
Ben also grew up in a family of successful artists – his dad was Order of Canada-winning ceramicist Jack Sures, and his mother is painter and illustrator Deborah Uman-Sures. And that might explain why Ben, despite his many gifts and accomplishments – he won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest with his song “Any Precious Girl,” for example – will sometimes spend more time reminding you what he HASN’T yet achieved than talking about what he has.
To be fair, outrageous talent alone doesn’t pay the rent (insert earnest reminder here about the importance of paying fair wages for music), so a certain amount of concern over one’s music industry attainment is understandable. But the next time Ben starts focusing on what he doesn’t have, he should really listen to one of his own records for a reality check.
Take, for instance, the new one, Poema Poematis, which is coming out Sunday.
Ben got a grant to arrange some of his songs for horns and strings and present them in concert. Right away, ya’ gotta admit, this is a pretty original idea for someone who plays quirky folk music.
But you know what else? It’s great!!
Audrey Ochoa wrote the arrangements and led the band for the live show, which took place Mar. 24, 2016 at the Yardbird Suite in Edmonton – two days after the passing of Ochoa’s musician father, by the way. The ensemble features plenty of well-known names in roots circles, including Sarah Frank and Luke Fraser of the Bombadils, Jeremiah McDade of the Juno-winning McDades, and Juno-winning sax player, PJ Perry.
Ben’s letting us premiere one of the tracks from the album here on Roots Music Canada.
Have a listen to “Winnipeg.”