Website [Release date 23.08.19]
Ben Featherstone has been working on this album over the past decade, mostly recorded in a 400 year old abandoned chapel on a disused cemetary in the middle of nowhere on mostly a 1950′s reel to reel, Neumann microphones and classic Neve Pre amps – all powered by a caravan battery and a type writer. It really is a musical labour of love, which features some guest musicians including Robert Webb (Cliff Richard, composer), who lays down the jaw dropping Hammond organ solo on ‘Fantasmogloria’, cellist Bryony James (Celine Dion, Adele) and bassist Dan Hawkins (Katy Melua, Rod Stewart). The album was mastered at Abbey Road Studios London by the Andy Walter (U2, Roger Waters, film scores).
‘Ageless Lady’, is simply wonderful which despite its sad lyric, features uplifting music and Ben’s vocals that at times remind me of Ray LaMontagne. The cello and piano lead into an operatic climax, which is sung in four different languages. ‘Cold White Snow’ is another vocal marvel, written after he met Nick Cave and it has that melancholic air you associate with Cave’s music. His singing really does sound as though he is singing live to you thanks to the painstaking effort that has gone into the recording.
‘Miss You’ recalls Jackie Leven, featuring a gentle guitar and Celtic drums providing a folk backbeat. ‘Chasing Stars’ is a beautiful tale of missing a loved one, with the emotive lyric “I wish you were here, will you come for me, I can’t wrap my arms around a memory”. For those who love a meaningful lyric there are many dotted throughout this album.
Special mention to ‘Fantasmogloria’, a song that veers from the gently acoustic through to a rip roaring Hammond solo from Robert Webb, before ending back on a gentle acoustic lilt.
If he never makes another album (and I for one sincerely hope he does), given the time, emotion and effort put into ‘Prisoner To The Wind’, Ben Featherstone can be proud that he has produced an album to be savoured and returned to time and time again. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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