Sunday, September 18, 2016

Nashville's Americanoir folk hero Ben de la Cour releases dark and mysterious 'Midnight in Havana'

Rising singer/songwriter Ben de la Cour has established himself as the face of the Americanoir sound with the official release of his dark and mysterious sophomore LP Midnight in Havana. Credited by Red Line Roots with offering “subtle hints of Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt, and Leonard Cohen,” de la Cour’s extensive travels have taken him to strange and sometimes dark and desperate places, places he documents so eloquently on Midnight in Havana. Midnight in Havana is being released via Nashville’s Flour Sack Cape Records, a label that “aims to document the constantly evolving sound of one city.”

After growing up in Brooklyn, de la Cour set out to see the world as an amateur boxer, bartender, and agricultural worker. He spins world-weary poetry of a road less traveled, and on Midnight in Havana tales of substance abuse, murder, and mental illness sit in perfect juxtaposition with the occasional lighthearted glimmer of hope. In the end though, darkness almost always wins… an unlikely hero, but one that suits de la Cour perfectly.

Case in point is the haunting “Down to the Water’s Edge,” the first single from Midnight in Havana. Described by de la Cour as a “creepshow manifesto” in which the narrator obsesses over his unknowing victim,” “Down to the Water’s Edge” represents de la Cour’s affection for David Lynch and the film-noir genre: 

“I'm a big film-noir fan, and I also really enjoy the detective novels of Ross MacDonald and Raymond Chandler. I knew I wanted the album to have something of that feel to it, with the weird lighting and dark spaces. That informed everything from the song "Midnight in Havana" to the album title and the artwork, which I did myself.”

Midnight in Havana was recorded and mixed over the course of a year at Greenland Sound in East Nashville. According to de la Cour, the process was “limited to one session or less a week, so it really felt like a labor of love between engineer/co-producer Joe Lekkas and myself.”


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