A bout of suspected typhoid fever set Ben Morgan-Brown down a new path in 2015; unable to stand and sing at the same time after three weeks of illness, he found that sitting to play and singing in a softer voice suited his delicate songwriting, and he discovered an intimacy within his own music that previous efforts had somehow lacked.
Performing his first solo gigs in over five years, he soon found this new style made for a compelling live experience – drawing audiences in with his intricate, open-tuned, guitar work and his unadorned lyrics; breaking the spell only to reveal a self-effacing sense of humour and openness about his influences and life between songs.
Continuing in this relaxed manner, he recorded a self-produced E.P. in February 2016 in his living room, capturing with four one-take tracks the experience of listening to a real musician playing real music. With a single piano overdub on the opening track ‘Valentine’, the E.P. brings to mind ‘Pink Moon’-era Nick Drake, the softer tracks on John Martyn’s ‘Solid Air’ and the simple guitar-and-vocals production of early Bert Jansch.
Maintaining the home-made theme, the E.P. was released in a limited, individually-numbered edition, with a recycled-card sleeve and hand-written tracklist, as well as a digital release, both of which are available from www.benmorganbrown.bandcamp.com.
Having played at Glastonbury Festival, Boardmasters, Green Man, and Acoustica in previous years with various musical projects, Ben set about securing gigs for his new solo material in March 2016, playing across Devon and the South West (including a support for Ruarri Joseph), as well as venturing out to Liverpool and Cardiff; building an audience and selling out the initial 100 home-made 2016 E.P.s, causing him to extend the run to 150.
In November 2016 Ben spent two days in a remote church hall with his good friend Peter Collis from The Diamond Family Archive/Map Recordings recording an eight track album. Maintaining the ethos behind his 2016 E.P., the album is built on complete performances, guitar and vocals captured together to show Ben’s newest material in an honest, direct light. With the subtle addition of keyboards, guitar loops, drones, percussion and electric guitar, it is an evolution of Ben’s sound that still maintains his commitment to ‘real’ sounding recordings.
Once again the album is released in a DIY manner, with Ben mixing the recordings, designing the artwork, and producing the final product himself at the kitchen table and it is available now from www.benmorganbrown.bandcamp.com