The Apostle Of Uncool

June 18th, 2008

resizedA recent Rolling Stone cover story characterized Coldplay's Chris Martin as "The Jesus of Uncool." And while I can't relate to the Jesus part, I can the "uncool."

See, I have a long history of uncool. I wasn't in the "cool" crowd in high school, wasn't in the "cool" band in college, and -- while I am surrounded by entire industries that arbitrate (and buy, process, and repair) "cool" here in New York -- I've always been outside of it.

Even at work. Heck, especially at work. I've taken plenty of guff for my taste since stepping ...

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Announcing The Authentic Records’ Unsanctioned & Uncensored Triathlon After Party & Benefit

June 17th, 2008

resizedI got it into my head a few months ago that it would be a good idea to run the Hy-Vee Triathlon, and then play a rock show afterwards. And who were my Authentic Records label mates to disagree?

Little did we know that our beloved Hawkeye State would be submerged beneath one of the worst floods in its history. So now it's official:

Announcing The Authentic Records' Unsanctioned & Uncensored Hy-Vee Triathlon After Party & Benefit Show. Join us after the big race (Sunday, June 22) at AK's Beaverdale in Des Moines, Iowa.

Proceeds ...

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Burger, Shot, Beer (Repeat)

June 15th, 2008

resizedRare is the rehearsal when the band doesn't spend as much time hanging out, drinking beers and talking for as long (or usually longer) than we do playing music. Which, at this point in my musical career, is alright by me.

Thursday night, however, was one for the record books.

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Chris Abad, bassist Tony Maceli, drummer Jamie Alegre and I were, of course, rehearsing for the big "The Invention Of Everything Else" CD release on Wednesday, June 18th at Rockwood Music Hall.

Rehearsal went well enough. I was ...

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Shades Of Life Ringing Through My Open Ears

June 12th, 2008

resizedThe band was recorded in Soho, overdubbed in Hell's Kitchen, then mixed in Des Moines via Hollywood.

Let me explain.

That photo of me pointing to my laptop? That's Jon Locker and me recording Patrick Riley and Cecile Forsberg's string parts for "The Invention Of Everything Else" -- despite 1,689 miles in between the four of us.

Thanks, Internets!

See, the only way to to make a record while holding down a day job, directing a documentary, training for a triathlon: a whole bunch of ethernet.

I've already written all about how Jon ...

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Preview & Download Entire New Benjamin Wagner Album Today!

June 11th, 2008

resizedMy brand-new, ten-track CD, "The Invention Of Everything Else," is now available for preview at and exclusive download at Authentic Records Online.

For one week only (June 11-18), download the entire album plus two online-only bonus tracks at Authentic Records Online. We'll ship your signed, limited-edition CD plus autographed poster and 1" collector's buttons on Wednesday, June 18th.

The ten track collection (my first LP since 2005's "Heartland") is a full-band, mostly-acoustic release, featuring guitarist Chris Abad, bassist ...

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The Re-Invention Of Monday Night

June 10th, 2008

resizedIf you asked me to script a better preamble for the release of "The Invention Of Everything Else," I'd be hard pressed.

I dropped the album art (created, like most things, in that three-hour zone of sleeplessness that strikes me most nights) onto Engine Room Audio's FTP, dashed off an email ("Leaving Now!") and raced out the door.

Times Square was sweltering. The JumboTron read 102°. Traffic and pedestrians were moving lugubriously. I had no time to waste, though; Engine Room -- some 60 blocks south -- closed in just 34 ...

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Behind The Music: “Giving Up The Ghost”

June 9th, 2008

resizedI was standing on the 79th Street subway station just a few days prior to the release of "Heartland" in November, 2005, when the phrase "giving up the ghost" came to me.

"Somehow," as I wrote a few years later, "It summarized everything that I was (and still am) going through, specifically, letting go of all of the dreams, fantasies, and delusions of youth. I’m not relinquishing the ones that drive and motivate and inspire me, I’m casting out those that haunt me, that torture me and keep me up at night. You know the laundry list: the ...

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“The Invention Of Everything Else” Track Listing

June 4th, 2008

resizedMy brand-new CD, "The Invention Of Everything Else," will be released on Authentic Records on June 18th.

The ten track collection (my first LP since 2005's "Heartland") is a full-band, mostly-acoustic release, featuring guitarist Chris Abad, bassist Tony Maceli and drummer Ryan Vaughn, plus The Nadas' guitarist Ross VanderWerf, guest vocalists Jamie Leonhart, Stephanie Walsmith, Josh Davis, and Tony Bohnenkamp, and strings by Patrick Riley (cello) and Cecile Forsberg (violin).

The album was recorded by Travis Harrison at Serious ...

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It Never Rains In California (It Pours)

May 28th, 2008

resizedTrue, my life has unfolded differently than I might have planned (or dreamed). Tonight finds me at Universal Studios Hollywood (more Burbank than Hollywood, really), not on the road like my pals The Nadas or Raining Jane.

Fortunately, though, I receive the occasional email from my rock 'n roll pals.

In fact, Raining Jane cellist, guitarist and vocalist Mai Bloomfield and I have been corresponding quite a bit of late.

You'll recall Raining Jane as that terrific LA-based folk/pop quartet with whom I played a bit in Des Moines. ...

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Sing To Keep Your Demons At Bay

May 27th, 2008

resizedGood thing Jamie Leonhart told me she taught voice after I roped her into singing a few songs with me for "The Invention Of Everything Else" (due June 18th from Authentic Records!); had I known in advance, I might not have had the nerve to ask.

I first came to know of Miss Leonhart as we prepared last winter's "A Family Holiday" Benefit CD. Her's was the smashing duet with former Undisputed Heavyweight, Mr. Casey Shea, a totally-classic yet thoroughly-modern rendition of "Baby, It's Cold Outside." It was the sound of two greats tossing ...

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