THE LONGER STORY
The Inimitable Mr Maggs
The first time I met Ben Maggs I knew there was something unique and extraordinarily special about him. It’s obvious immediately, and every aspect of this Singer Songwriter’s musical expression has the same obvious qualities. He has an irresistible magnetism that draws you in and wraps you up in the lights and colours of his unique and extraordinary world.
Ben is a real force of nature. There’s a raw honesty and naturalness to his songs and his delivery. He’s a generous open hearted performer, exciting, moving, uplifting and inspiring. Every precious word is expressed with resonant clarity, as free as the flying feathers that decorate his guitars.
Natural vocal talent was apparent at a young age, as was Ben’s love of his little red toy guitar. There were brief flirtations with violin and saxophone, but once in possession of a ‘grown up’ guitar he never looked back. Thank goodness for first love, because this man and a guitar is a marriage made in heaven. By his late teens, Ben was lead singer and writer with Solace, a band that quickly secured a deal with Rip Curl. Philosophy studies at Warwick didn’t temper his commitment, but momentum was lost when two members of the band decided to leave. Priorities shifted and dreams of a music career all but dissolved into the concept of a more ‘sensible’ future. And so it was, for a while. With lyrical poetry and melodies coursing through his veins, it was only a matter of time before Ben was overwhelmed by his own nature. Many cajoled and encouraged, but it was through a series of challenging and tragic circumstances that Ben wrote and performed again. New songs flowed powerfully through him, carrying him back into regular public performance. This bear’s winter was over and so was his ‘sensible’ job.
Ben recorded his first EP “Let in the Light” in 2011, receiving critical acclaim and winning awards for his then signature song “New York”. The EP reflected his experience of a deeply transformative period and allowed Ben to explore his musical style, subsequently discovering a more natural expression of his craft. There’s nothing fixed about Ben, there’s a journey and an evolution in every breath.
His new album “Come as you are” sings of this evolution, his voice ringing truer and clearer than ever. Ben’s unique style, lyrics and melodies brilliantly reflect life’s journey, infused with the heartbeat of the natural and concrete world, and the many good folk met along the way.
The album draws especially on Ben’s experiences and adventures around the British Isles – the dramatic wilderness coastline of the Western Highlands and Islands of Scotland, his Grandfather’s Welsh homeland and also his native Cotswolds.
Some songs speak of walks and dreams of day and dusk and night in the gentle Cotswold Hills. Others of violent cabin and shore battering Highland storms or haunting shadowy nights wrapped by Skye’s unforgiving Cuillin ridge; nomadic weeks with a guitar, living in a car with the sea for a bath, no plan or maps and precious little underwear; remote Outer Hebridean wilderness, writing and playing beneath eagle wings, under brilliant blood moons and the glowing green dance of the northern lights. Some simply speak of the silent reflection of a man who is nowhere in particular.
All of Ben’s songs are written and performed with authenticity and integrity from the landscape of his heart, singing of the experiences of a man who feels and expresses profoundly and exquisitely. It is true to say there is something magical as well as magnetic about Ben. Simply put, beyond the undeniably high quality of his song writing, guitar and vocal performance, Ben Maggs really entertains.
Audiences are enrapt by his evocative vocals and melodic lyricism, the energetic “nothing held back” visceral nature of his performance and engaging inter-song storytelling, all carried exquisitely by resonant acoustic guitar.
Festival and event organisers, audiences and fellow musicians alike describe Ben’s performances as “mesmerising”, commenting on how he “holds the audience in the palm of his hands”. You can expect nothing less than the full and free expression of the heart and soul of this talented troubadour, live or recorded.
The genre? Sometimes I want to say contemporary folk, or folk pop, or reference the troubadours of the 70’s, but this music is new. There really is something here for everyone. Really the music is just Ben Maggs, it’s not like anything else. Ben’s music is authentic and unique – as brilliantly expressed by an artistic admirer he is “The Inimitable Mr Maggs”.