Forever Young: Benjamin Wagner’s “Forever Young” LP Track-By-Track

September 29th, 2010

resizedIn the summer of 1971, my mother was learning to play acoustic guitar.

I was born in September, deep in the heart of the Singer/Songwriter Era: James Taylor, Carol King, Bob Dylan Jackson Brown, John Denver, Crosby, Stills & Nash were all on heavy rotation on The Wagner Family hi-fi.

My birth announcement was the lyrics to Elton John "The Greatest Discovery" superimposed over a family photo.

Little wonder, then, that -- thirty-eight years later as my wife and I counted down to our daughterMaggie's birth -- I began to frame her ...

[Read More]

Rainbow Connection: Benjamin Wagner’s “Forever Young” LP Track-By-Track

September 27th, 2010

resizedThough "The Muppet Movie" was released in June, 1979, I didn't see it until hit cable the following winter.

My parents had just separated. My father was living alone in "our" old house while my mother, brother and I lived across town.

Chris and my model airplane-strewn bedroom was barren, so my father purchased matching futons from JCPenny and put them in the otherwise sparsely-furnished tv room. It was there that I first heard "Rainbow Connection."

Whether its the context or the song itself, I'm not sure, but -- as with the bulk of ...

[Read More]

Benjamin Wagner’s “Forever Young” Teaser Trailer Premieres

September 21st, 2010

resizedIt's arguable that I have no business covering Bob Dylan not once but twice on my new album (which borrows a title from Mr. Zimmerman as well), "Forever Young."

As Abbi and I counted down to Maggie's birth, though, all I could wish for her was, well, everything. And no song that I'm aware of better captures sentiment than "Forever Young."

"May you have a strong foundation when the winds of changes shift," Dylan sings to his brand-new son, Jakob, "May your heart always be joyful and may your song always be sung."

My new album (due ...

[Read More]

Benjamin Wagner’s “Forever Young” Album Art Revealed

September 21st, 2010

resizedIt may seem obvious that a new album by a new father feature his new daughter on the cover, but it took some time to arrive at this apparently obvious conclusion.

"Forever Young" is a collection of ten cover songs somehow connected to my childhood or childhood in general that -- over the course of the album -- sonically and lyrically map the arc of a child's day (morning, evening, bedtime). Nine of the ten recordings features a guest vocalist like Amber Rubarth, Emily Easterly, and Mai Bloomfield (of Raining Jane), and all of them feature ...

[Read More]

Goodnight Moonlight Baby

September 14th, 2010

resizedLast night, I bumped into Justin Bieber just seconds prior to his VMA performance of “Baby.” Just twenty-four hours later, my own baby was back in my arms.

This year's awards marked my first prolonged absence from Maggie since she was born. I was in Los Angeles just five nights, but the days were jam-packed and long.

In the fifteen years I've been here, MTV News' purview has grown by leaps and bounds. I now have a hand in all of it, from the hundreds of articles, blogs and video segments produced for the website to the 200, ...

[Read More]

Won’t You Be My “Forever Young” Neighbor?

September 2nd, 2010

resizedExactly one-month from today, on Saturday, October 2, I'm releasing a brand-new LP, "Forever Young."

It's a collection of songs I loved growing up that I hope my three-month-old daughter, Maggie, will love someday too. Of course, I'm counting on you and your family enjoying it as well!

The record features many of my dearest friends lending their voices, guitars and keys. It is our intention to donate proceeds to The Fred Rogers Center and The Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood. Though neither is affiliated with the project ...

[Read More]

Where Are You Calling From? (Or, Virtual Rock & Roll)

August 23rd, 2010

resizedI probably should have known better than to be working on a new album during MTV Video Music Awards season, but here I am, knee deep in "Forever Young" with less than two weeks to go until the channel's big night.

The timing was, of course, to be expected. As my colleague, Rachel, put it, "No one does fall like you." I have a long history of Q3 releases ("Almost Home," "Love & Other Indoor Games") typically jammed-packed amidst marathons and tours. This year, though, the reasoning was simple: "Forever Young" is inspired by Maggie. By ...

[Read More]

Am I Off The Rails?

August 17th, 2010

resizedWith "Forever Young," I may be off the rails.

A few weeks ago, rock journos Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis aired a special episode of their weekly "Sound Opinions" program called "Off The Rails." In the show, the two tallied artists who'd detoured unforgivably from the promise of their early career: Lauryn Hill, Metallica, Liz Phair. The first spot was assigned to Rod Stewart whose "Stardust: The Great American Songbook, Vol. III" -- in the duo's estimation, anyway -- undid Stewart's work with The Jeff Beck Group, The Faces, and as a solo ...

[Read More]

Rock ‘N Roll Coochie Coo

August 14th, 2010

resizedThank goodness, my week of rock 'n roll bachelorhood finally came to an end.

Abbi, Maggie and I were in Wilmington, DE, last weekend for The Keller's 40th anniversary. I had to get back to NYC for MTV's TJ Search Finale on Sunday. So it seemed like a perfect, logical solution. Abbi could relax with her family, and I could finish my forthcoming benefit CD, "Forever Young."

Jeff Jacobson ran my studio (aka Maggie's nursery) through. Our cover of James Taylor's "Sweet Baby James" is a melancholy, lullaby version of the tune. He laid down ...

[Read More]

Golden Slumbers

March 8th, 2010

resizedLast night, just before her eyes turned heavy after her traditional page and a half of reading, I slipped a pair of Sony headphones onto Abbi's belly, and pushed play.

I was running two hours behind my "Forever Young" recording schedule when singer/songwriter Misty Boyce finally took her seat at the piano. She banged out "Morning Has Broken" with just seconds of practice in three takes. Moments later, we began recording our cover of The Beatles, "Golden Slumbers."

"Do you think I'll be hung in effigy if I added an extra chorus?" I ...

[Read More]