Dream Invisible – Ben Jordan (IRL Records) – reviewed by Dave Franklin

06_CD_Ben-Jordan_4The term troubadour gets banded around rather too freely in modern journalism; I’m as guilty as any, something that is put sharply in perspective when the real deal does finally show up on your radar. And Ben Jordan is the real deal. Having already travelled between enough musical hubs as New York and Nashville, London, Dublin and Prague to justify the moniker, it was when he found himself stranded in The UK with no gigs, no money and nowhere to live that he really earned the title. From a Cornish base he rebuilt his life note-by-note, song-by-song, gig-by-gig and struck out with a new found optimism and a hard won wisdom.

Dream Invisible is the musical receptacle that all that experience has been poured into, the result is a heart on sleeve collection of country flavours and folky vibes that range from introspective and gentle tunes to groove-laden, foot-tapping stomps. It is interesting to note that the players on his album include most of Sam Green and the Midnight Heist and songs such as Jump in The River certainly sounds straight out of their back catalogue, whether its their influence on Ben or just the perfect musical meeting of minds is largely irrelevant as a great song is a great song. Whilst there have been comparisons to Jack Johnson, songs such as Cool Water, which may appeal to fans of his work, only serve to prove how middle of the road and obvious he is and how much more deft and dexterous Ben is when it comes to writing songs.

This album shows perfectly Ben’s appeal and the wonderful make up of his music, firmly rooted in the alt-country sounds of his homeland but with some lovely Old World folk trappings and just enough of an accessible pop vibe to provide mass appeal but not so much that the songs feel compromised in any way. If a troubadour is someone whose creations are the culmination of all their travel and experiences, trials and tribulations and who can embrace traditional styles as much as peddling contemporary sounds, then Ben Jordon more than deserves that epithet.

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