Ben Howard was born in West London in 1987. His family moved to Totnes, Devon when he was eight. His parents, musicians themselves, surrounded him with music as he grew up and exposed him to singer-songwriters of the 1960s and 1970s like Joni Mitchel and Simon and Garfunkel. Two of his biggest musical influences were John Martyn and Nick Drake.
Ben began writing his own songs when he was around ten, using the guitar as his composing vehicle. He attended Torquay Boys’ Grammar School and King Edward VI Community College then went on to study journalism at the University of Falmouth. But six months shy of getting his degree, he decided to make music his full-time career focusing on the folk-style genre made popular by Nick Drake. His guitar style is a blend of fingerpicking, standard tapping, and lap-tapping. His lyrics are full of imagery, some of which is rather dark. He released two EPs before signing with Island Records. His debut CD, Every Kingdom, went gold in the U.K. and is gradually gaining traction in the U.S. due to a recent tour.
In 2013, he won BRIT awards for Best British Breakthrough Act and Best British Solo Male Artist. His voice and guitar have a haunting quality to it that I hope you like. Enjoy!
Depth over Distance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phktiVZqUbQ
Live Concert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58xfJLrRr4U
Eurosonic Concert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GW2kUiQh9Kk
I’m pairing Ben with the 2012 Trousse-Chemise Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Oregon, and particularly the Willamette Valley region, produces some of my favorite Pinot Noirs. This one is bright cherry red with a nose of red raspberries and cherries. The palate follows the nose with rich fruit and a fresh vibrant finish. It’s a nice wine to enjoy with a good book while listening to the music of Ben Howard.