Review: Ben Bostick – Grown Up Love (2021)

Ben Bostick is a South Carolina-raised, Georgia-based singer-songwriter and one man band.

His influences range from Johnny Cash to Paul Simon to Otis Redding. He released his debut EP, “My Country” in 2016 and his self-titled debut album the following year. Since then, we`ve had “Hellfire” and “Among the Faceless Crowd” and now Ben has a new album “Grown Up Love”, a collection of love songs borne out of the trials of the pandemic and his eldest daughter’s diagnosis with Rett Syndrome, due out this month.

The album opens with the upbeat `Different Woman` which has a sort of rhythmic worldbeat vibe about it with intermittent alto and tenor saxophone splashes along route. It would seem to relate to how a long established relationship transforms with time. We have a gentle number with `Shades Of Night` a simple tale of a couple getting together after a busy day and just spending a little time together. A slow burn with some delightful harmonies supplied by The BlackBettys who consist of Sherita and Sherry Murphy.  

`Lucky Us` is a quite stripped back melancholic number with vocals and plucked guitar with organ and piano joining in as it progresses. A profound look at recognising that the strength in the narrators relationship is far greater than what others that seem to have it all, actually have. Although `The Diagnosis` must have been a difficult track to wite and record, it has a quite uplifting texture. A tapped drum rim alongside delightful backing harmonies lead us along and at times you can hear the guitar frets and the haunting sound of a French Horn intermittingly throughout.

`Under The Palmetto Moon` seems to be a reminiscence of a time when the raconteur and his partner took off along the California highway under the land of the falling stars to mark the beginning of a weekend of freedom. The addition of a pedal steel guitar gave it more of a thoughtful, reflective nostalgic feel. I felt that `If We Only Had Tonight` was a soulful folk love song in a similar vein to `If I Were A Carpenter`. The introduction of mellotron and synth strings gave it a further touch of poignancy.

There`s clearly some misinterpretation in the relationship shared in `The Myth Of Translation` which is a mellow breezy mid-tempo offering with joyful backing harmonies and entrancing sax tinges throughout. There was a late night almost jazzy feel to `A Grown Up Kind Of Love` which was very reflective and introspective with a swirling accordion complementing the acoustic guitar chords.

I think `Like Old People Do` is more of a desire to step back and take time to appreciate life and share moments together, just enjoying each other`s company. A plaintive musing shared with just vocals and acoustic guitar. The album closes with `It Seems Like Only Yesterday` a love song that traverses the years this couple have shared together. Ben`s deeply rich voice comes to the fore with just the accompaniment of an acoustic guitar and pedal steel.

Ben Bostick and his wife have had to overcome and accept a further difficulty in life with the problematic circumstances due to his daughter`s health challenges and most people could be forgiven for just floundering in self-pity. But no, this singer songwriter and musician penned an album of songs that have at times references to the strength, resilience and love between him and his wife. It`s at times, understandably a little melancholic but also contemplative and at other times uplifting. There are at times hints of Paul Simon who is one of the artist’s inspirations. Ben has drawn in a gifted group of musicians to bring this release to life with Jack Jones (drums), Cory Tramontelli (fretless bass), Chris Otts (alto sax), William Hollifield (tenor sax), Colin Agnew (percussion), Johnathan Mills (vibraphone), Kathleen Ray (French horn), Matt Stoessel (pedal steel guitar), Rob Burger (mellotron, synth strings, accordion) and The BlackBettys – Sherita and Sherry Murphy (background vocals).

We all have had to face difficulties in life and although this release is intensely emotional, it`s delightfully engaging and will maybe make us step back and take a moment to reflect on what is important in our own busy lives.

Rating 8.5 /10