February 2, 2009

Ben Kweller covers Neil Young + plays some new songs


Although he still looks eternally (and preternaturally) adolescent, 27 year-old Ben Kweller has been making music for fifteen years now, from catchy pop to punk rock and all shades in between. Recently returned to his home state to settle in Austin, Kweller’s bright new country-inflected album Changing Horses is out this week  on ATO Records.

“I wear my Texas roots on my sleeve,” Ben says on this interview from the BBC a few weeks ago. He’s apparently been writing these Southwestern songs for years (some hints broke through notably on 2006′s superb self-titled album and more recently on his How Ya Lookin’, Southbound? EP), and squirreling away the twang for the perfect time to gather them all into a slide-guitar + dusty heartbreak tour de force.

Kweller is comfortable letting his roots show. “I grew up bass-fishing, playing in creeks, and shooting BB guns,” Kweller says. “Country music was the soundtrack to my life. It’s still a big part of who I am. When Garth Brooks or Alan Jackson come on the radio, somethin’ happens inside. Brings me back to the trees, back to pushin’ cars out of the mud. Reminds me of my hometown.”

BEN KWELLER – Live on BBC2 (Dec 13, 2008)
Intro/Chat I
Sawdust Man
Chat II
From Hank To Hendrix
(Neil Young cover)
Chat III
(from 2002′s Sha Sha)


And also — man. I love that Neil Young song he covers (from 1992′s Harvest Moon), and just like everything Kweller does, the way he sings it is here is so purely unaffected and honest:

Sometime it’s distorted
Not clear to you
Sometimes the beauty of love
Just comes ringin’ through

New glass in the window
New leaf on the tree
New distance between us
You and me

Can we get it together?
Can we still walk side by side?
Can we make it last
Like a musical ride?

Changing Horses is out February 3rd in the U.S. (today in Europe!), and there’s a sweeeet Daytrotter session recently posted as well.



  • This is a wonderful cover of one of my favorite Neil Young songs. Thanks!

    Jason — February 2, 2009 @ 12:24 pm

  • cool, i was not sure about the country angle working for me, but his video for the single, fight, is pretty funny and the song is growing on me. looking forward to hearing the whole album.

    c — February 2, 2009 @ 2:42 pm

  • His new album sounds amazing, definitely a step in the right direction for Ben.

    Dan — February 2, 2009 @ 2:46 pm

  • Such a good album, particularly “Sawdust Man.” I miss the double-tracked vox on the live version, but Kweller sounds amazing.

    Andrew — February 6, 2009 @ 10:32 am

  • These are some great tracks, thanks!

    It really is amazing to think Kweller’s only 27, it feels like he’s been around forever. Then again 15 years in the musici biz is a long time.

    The Blot — February 7, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
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