Ben Bostick – The Rascal Is Back
Right from the start Ben Bostick will remind older country fans of legendary images like Buck Owens, Sonny James & the humor of Roger Miller or Bobby Bare. But the opening cut has some genuine creativity in the arrangement as “The Rascal Is Back” fumes through your ears coupled with humor & energy. This is polished stuff.
The instrumentation is quite nourished & the guitar intro to “You Can Leave In the Morning,” is an instant ear-tugger. An invigorating sing-along style. Bostick is all about fun & excitement with all the good humor-urgency of Miller & country singers of that ilk. However, Bostick is not a comedian. He’s not hovering over the fields of Hee-Haw though he would fit as a guest since he is a fine-natured singer.
Despite the touches of humor, Bostick (guitar/harmonica/jaw harp) is anchored firmly in true country topics & some are serious. He just looks at them without disdain. The 35-minute 11-cut The Rascal Is Back (Drops April 14– Simply Fantastic Music) was self-produced & it’s his 5th album. A better title to the LP would’ve been “Been Through The Fire,” since Mr. Bostick has been. Maybe next time.
Musicians who have personally or through their families had to endure some life-challenging issues often turn out immaculate work. This qualifies, it’s upbeat & it goes forward. Bostick never falters, nothing is silly, nothing cliched, it’s all rooted in deep musical genres & Ben polishes them all with gusto.
“Big Train,” is absolutely wonderful with its Jimmy Dean-Marty Robbins type of country push & the solid male backup singers – “just keep-a-rollin’ down the track…” almost a life-assuring hook line. This is a great song.
A stalwart of the Georgia music scene Ben’s repertoire is primarily originals & while he admits he got lots of goofball songs he never trips into novelty. He manages to cleverly open each song with something charming – “I Don’t Care,” is superb. This is what makes songsmiths not only good at their songwriting they’re work becomes interesting. Ben has the talent of many 60s singles – each was unique like Boots Walker’s “They’re Here,” effects & heart-tugging balladry of “A Bum Can’t Cry.”
Ben manages to use the right vocal tone throughout – it sometimes sounds like there’s more than one lead singer – but it’s just Ben. There’s an ounce of theatrics to his arrangements & while he reaches back to vintage country music Ben spices it with modern musical stimulants. The man understands the genre he works in.
Musicians – Jack Jones (drums/percussion/bgv), Kyle LaLone (guitar/bgv), Cass Faulconer (bass/bgv), Neal Wauchope (piano/organ), Jason Scheff, Kristin Davis & Gary Carter (bgv).
Highlights – “The Rascal Is Back” “You Can Leave In the Morning,” “Big Train,” “I Don’t Care,” “Iowa Girl” & “I Remember Easy Street.”
CD cover photography by Chris Ruggiero. CD @ https://www.benbostick.com/ & Bandcamp