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Saturday 18 May 2024

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Ben Nicholls New Album ‘Duets’ Released Today

Apr 5, 2024

Ben Nicholls is an acclaimed double bassist, singer, arranger and composer. Ben’s new album Duets features many of the artists he has accompanied over his 30-year career performing with many of the UK’s best known folk and indie artists.

Duets features Nadine Shah, Cara Dillon, Sam Lakeman, Seth Lakeman, Tim Eriksen, Kris Drever, Chris Vatalaro, Fay Hield, John Smith, Martin Simpson, Sam Sweeney, Chaim Tannenbaum, Patsy Reid, Evan Jenkins and Jon Boden. Bringing his upright bass playing into focus, the album features arrangements of traditional folk songs as well as newly composed material.

“During my time as a double bass player I have been lucky enough to travel the world and play with some amazing singers and musicians. It has been a continual source of pleasure to add low frequencies to the works of artists I admire and to play my part in helping them create so many brilliant albums.

For this album I wanted to turn things around and make bass the focus, so I asked old musical friends to join me in the studio for a series of intimate duets. It was a magical journey with everyone bringing something different to the record, all held together by the voice of my old upright bass…”

Duets was mostly recorded with live takes whilst creating a film for each track, recorded wherever Ben and his collaborators could meet up, from dressing rooms to church halls, Glasgow to New York City.

Alongside the album, Ben and three other leading British folk bassists, Jon Thorne, Miranda Sykes and Duncan Lyall have created a truly unique video resource comprising interviews and demonstrations of bass playing. They come together to discuss their musical paths with the bass, approaches and techniques to playing folk bass as well as advice for people starting out.

Ben’s musical career includes an impressive array of session work, with artists from across the UK. Ben was a co-writer on Nadine Shah’s Mercury Award nominated album Holiday Destination, 2017, and tours with his nautical projects, Kings of the South Seas and Sea Song Sessions. In 2018 he performed alongside Jessie Buckley and Julie Walters as ‘Eric’ in the film Wild Rose and in 2023 features in North Star, directed by Kristin Scott Thomas and starring Scarlett Johansson.

As a composer he has collaborated with Andy Mellon of Bellowhead and Booker Prize winning author DBC Pierre on ‘Axolotol Odyssey’, a 2012 PRSF commissioned project at the Natural History Museum, which saw them as Musicians in Residence at London Zoo. Ben writes for various TV and film commissions, including the soundtracks for the movies Ballad of AJ Weberman, Look Up and Wave the Glove and The Mighty Boosh documentary Journey of the Childmen, 2009.

Duets is released on Hudson Records on TODAY digitally and on CD.


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