Ben Sollee

Half Made Man

Lexington, KY

(Tin Ear Productions)

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“Kentucky cellist transforms pop-rock with his jazz, folk, Americana-bluegrass roots”


When reviewing an album there is always a tendency – as a writer – to draw comparison to some other artist’s recording. You want to paint a clear picture in the reader’s mind of what he or she can expect before buying the album. On Sollee’s fourth studio endeavor, that’s a tough task to do. Ben Sollee sounds exactly like…himself, which is to say that Sollee, in an otherwise endlessly diverse indie music-sphere, has truly pioneered his own alt-Americana style of music.

Drawing from his classically trained cellist roots, Sollee blends elements of pop-rock, jazz, R&B, and bluegrass for an harmoniously groove-a-licious, pop-rockish departure from 2011‘s Inclusions.  Joining him on the album are My Morning Jacket’s Carl Broemel on guitar, Turtle Island Quartet’s Jeremy Kittel on fiddle, Alana Rocklin on bass, Jordan Ellis on percussion and vocalist Abigail Washburn.

Most memorable is the heartfelt prowess of “Unfinished” and the candid assertions from “Get Off Your Knees.” The album peaks on “The Pursuit of Happiness,” a vocally arousing, storytelling, rock-n-roll rhythmic monster of a song.

Even though this album is called Half Made Man, Sollee proves yet again that his self-defined and Kentucky-bred musical mystique is wholly made.

Produced by Ben Sollee


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