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RSS Feeds`Heart and soul - that`s where real music takes over`
(The Guardian Culture News)


22 april 2012 02:03:06

`Heart and soul - that`s where real music takes over`
(The Guardian Culture News)

Fast-rising English singer-songwriter Ben Howard is a word-of-mouth star with an adoring fanbase who is poised to crack the US market in the wake of Adele and Mumford & Sons. Just don`t call what he does boring...With hundreds of venues, riffs blaring from every corner and more indie bands per square inch than anywhere else on the planet, the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas must be seen by most emerging musicians as the promised land. Ben Howard, however, is not impressed. `I hate it here,` he says. `You don`t have time to think. The people are mental! And it`s not helpful for musicians at all - you see everyone lugging their own gear everywhere, it`s a nightmare.`This is not the kind of on-message nicety we were expecting from Howard, whose gentle, finger-picked songs go hand in hand with a love of surfing and a (usually) laidback manner. But then, as we`ll find out over several mid-afternoon whiskies in a hotel lobby, Howard does enjoy a good rant - especially when it comes to his critics.Besides, it`s not as if he`s genuinely unhappy - how could he be with things going so well for him right now? Today, for instance, he found out he had sold out the Bowery Ballroom in New York. Yesterday he headed out to a studio with his Communion label gang to drink beer in the sun and record a cover of John Martyn`s `Over the Hill`. Later on he will play a gig at St David`s Episcopal church in Austin that will have fans singing in the pews - a reaction that suggests the London-born singer-songwriter won`t struggle to win a following in the US.Back home, things are looking even rosier. He has packed out the Shepherd`s Bush Empire two nights running, sold 130,000 copies of his debut album, Every Kingdom (which went Top 10), and - unusually for a folkie - seems to be followed around the country by an army of screaming girls - a one-man One Direction, if you will. Yet if you mention the name `Ben Howard` to people, many won`t have even heard of him. This is the first b ...
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