What is Abigail Washburn's style of banjo playing

Ben Sollee

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Ben Sollee

The National Public Radio lists Ben Sollee 2007 among the "Top Ten Unknown Artists Of The YearThis is one of the main reasons why the Kentucky-based songwriter and political activist has achieved respectable popularity in the United States. In any case, this gives his solo career considerable momentum.

As a classically trained cellist in the singer / songwriter profession, Sollee impresses with his percussive playing style and cross-genre songwriting. His early influences such as Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett or Billie Holiday combine in his work with his passion for American folk.

Ben complements his impressive cello playing instrumentally with percussion instruments, the banjo and guitars. Stylistically, he oscillates with his vocal compositions between folk, jazz, soul, bluegrass and rhythm and blues.

Ben Sollee is a member of The Sparrow Quartet, which has existed since 2005, which is completed with Abigail Washburn (banjo, vocals), Bela Fleck (banjo) and Casey Driessen (violin). In 2008 he released his debut "Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet".

In addition, he increasingly focused on his solo ambitions and in the same year recorded the EP "If You're Gonna Lead My Country" and the long-player debut "Learning To Bend" (SonaBLAST! Records) with the active support of Duane Lundy.

As an accomplished cellist with a soulful singing voice, he also works with artists such as Otis Taylor, Vienna Teng and The Paper Raincoats.

Via MySpace he contacted the songwriter Daniel Martin Moore, with whom he released the 2010 album "Dear Companion" (Sub Pop). As a prominent comrade-in-arms for this collaboration, the guys win the My Morning Jacket man Jim James as producer and instrumentalist.

Sollee shares a political awareness with Moore and, above all, an active commitment to environmental protection. As a member of the Appalachian Voices he supports the organization I Love Mountains, which is committed to preserving the nature of the Appalachians and is against the "mountaintop removal"(MTR), which promotes coal mining in the Appalachian Mountains with questionable methods and devastating consequences for the land and culture.

In addition, he dedicates himself to non-profit volunteering, plays charity concerts and travels the country with his cello on his bicycle in order to raise the environmental awareness of the people and his fans.

Despite the conditions in the world that are worthy of criticism, Ben Sollee is characterized by an incorrigible optimism, which is also reflected in his music:

"There is a belief in the good in people. I share this conviction and want to advance it so that I try to promote peace in the world and among us all."