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Ben Sollee

A classically trained cellist, Ben Sollee made his name as a backup musician before launching a songwriting career in 2008. Raised in Lexington, KY, he began playing cello as a fourth-grade student and slowly blossomed into a talented instrumentalist, receiving encouragement from his two music-minded parents along the way. The family household was often filled with vintage soul music -- Wilson Pickett, Ray Charles, Billie Holiday, and Otis Redding being the most consistent selections -- and Sollee’s subsequent discovery of folk music helped round out his musical tastes. By the time he relocated to Louisville to pursue his craft professionally, he'd grown into an eclectic musician with demonstrated interests in folk, jazz, R&B, and bluegrass.

Although he’d already begun writing his own songs, Sollee received his first big break as a member of the Sparrow Quartet, an acoustic supergroup that also featured vocalist Abigail Washburn, banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck, and violinist Casey Driessen. The group toured the world, visited Tibet at the behest of the U.S. State Department, and released several recordings, all of them adventurous projects that featured a blend of American and Asian folk traditions. Although several of his bandmates were more established than he, Sollee enjoyed a good deal of positive press for his contributions to the group, and NPR’s Morning Edition named him one of the Top Ten Unknown Artists of the Year in 2007. One year later, he released an EP of his own material, If You’re Gonna Lead My Country, and followed it with a full-length album named Learning to Bend.

The Sparrow Quartet continued to tour throughout much of 2008 and 2009, but Sollee also found time to play with other artists, including pianist Vienna Teng and fellow Kentucky native Daniel Martin Moore. A folk songwriter himself, Moore began composing a number of new songs with Sollee's help, and the two soon banded together for the creation of Dear Companion. A third Kentucky resident, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, produced the album, which was released by Sub Pop in February 2010. ~ Andrew Leahey, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Letting Go (Single)

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Track List: Pandora Whiteboard Session: August 28, 2013

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Track List: Something Worth Keeping (Single)

Comments

deidre.uscg
He's very talented.
I was lucky enough to see him perform a few years ago at coffeetree cafe in frankfort Kentucky he is simply amazing
sonjahanselm a n
I think I like it I'm not sure
connietutt1
We played together in our high school orchestra and I am SO PROUD of him!
Performed at my brothers house. Very good!
This is very nice.
goldengti
Recently saw him at the Tibetan Freedom Concert in Louisville. Good, good stuff.
strangejade5
aw, he's cute. ^^
edpenn52
I live in Lexington and have seen Ben several times - six or seven. Just recently, I saw him at the refurbished Grande Theater in Frankfort, Ky where Kentucky's State Capitol is located. I had heard that CNN was going to interview him there and talk to him about his music (which is great) and about his activist role against mountaintop removal in the pursuit of coal for fuel. May I listen to your interview, I asked. Said he, Yep, my answers will probably be the same either way. :)
i'm dying to see this guy live...i love everything that he does! ugh so talented!
saw Ben sollee in Santa Fe, NM, about a week ago, and met him after the show. One of the things that endeared me to him was his approachabil i t y - - - - AND not only a musician, but, a thinker. What a fun show,and really fun to talk with him about his cycling tour, hauling the instruments along the way, and his enthusiasm for the world and all its people in it. bravo!
by the way, his fiddle player and his drummer/perc u s s i o n i s t were fabulous! beth---Ft. Lauderdale, FLA
If Ben Sollee comes near your town...stop everything and go out to see him.Live -- it changes you and how you listen to music..its just magical to be in the surrounding when he plays Cello and sings with those amazing musicians he tours with...Wow He is unbelievable Live.You get all of his songs after seeing them live.Thank you Ben for coming to IOTA in Arlington,VA for 2 consecutive nights!!!We love you man and We support you.keep on keepin on and hopefully will play together someday!
dlaux20
I'm simply speechless from listening to this song. I gave up on pop music years ago and this talented beautiful human being gives me hope that good music still exists. I just adore this song..
altamedea
be-u-ti-ful!
God Bless!
Just saw Ben and Co. last night at The National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, CA and HE FLIPPIN ROCKED IT just 10 minutes after getting off of a train. My new favorite!!!
Really love this guy, he has a great new CD out with Daniel Martin Moore. Check it out.
juice_02_15
I had the honor and pleasure to occupy the seat next to Ben in our high school orchestra for several years. He was great then and has only gotten better, I always knew he would do great things with his talent. <3 ya Ben, Jessica Vitale
geetings and salutations to those who read these words
funny thing how things seems to take a dip and out of ski's comes a singer and or a song that touch's your soul
malthoff72
Just saw him at ACL Festival last weekend. The things he can do with a Cello blew my wig back!
One of the most unique artists in music--Love his range of choices

Paula
That is awesome!!!!! I love Ben Sollee I think that he's coming to my town I'll have to check that out yay!!!!!!! =)
mikewaford
Ben is traveling across KY and TN on a bike to Bonaroo pedaling for poverty and promoting OXFAM. Check it out on you tube or google! He is everything said below and more.
I just saw him for the first time at Schubas in Chicago, he was opening for Vienna Teng. I could not believe the sound he pulled out of a cello. A truly amazing musician.
I played with Ben in Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra back in the early 2000s. He was amazing then (sat first cello) and he's amazing now. I would sit back in the bassoon section watching him at times. I now get to see him play everytime he's in Lexington. He's just a really laid back guy who loves what he does and is very appreciative when given positive feedback.
Hope to see you soon Ben!
rengel15
I happened to be at a coffee shop in Louisville studying and he was playing that night....I was amazed. Plus he's really cool which is always nice. So glad he's finally on here.
katieanne.bu r t
AMAZING!!!! i, too, first saw him with the Sparrow Quartet and immediately bought his cd when it came out. definitely some of the most compelling music i've heard in a loooong time
linda08076
I stumbled upon Ben's performance on a public television channel when he performed at the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia and was absolutely in awe...he is completely amazing. I love everything about his music and there are definitely great things to come for this amazing musician. I bought his cd and it's incredible. I suggest you do the same :)
Just saw Ben in concert in Chicago -- just him and his cello. Fantastic performer with infectious music. Can't wait for Christmas so I can open his CD as one of my presents. He is down-to-eart h and humble. Put a cello and microphone in front of him, and he simply emotes and pulls you in.
Genius!
cstebnisky
I recently saw Ben play with the Sparrow Quartet in Ohio. They were all amazing, as you know if you are aware of who all is comprised in that group. Ben ABSOLUTELY shined! I was unfamiliar with him before this weekend when I saw them. Talk about a new favourite! AMAZING!

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