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Ben Howard didn't expect the enthusiasm the met him upon his arrival in America. Perhaps the young British songwriter assumed audiences on this side of the Atlantic hadn't heard Every Kingdom; Howard's smoldering, recorded contribution to his home country's booming folk scene. When you align yourself with the musical community Mumford and Sons' Ben Lovett has been curating under the Communion imprint, American enthusiasts tend to notice though...the word gets out. All of which explains the packed past capacity gathering that welcomed Howard at our Launch Pad Party in Austin last month.

Howard's tidy, four song set was a tough one to get through the doors for, so we're thrilled to share this stunning capture of the performance with you now. The components of Howard's music are powered by his precise finger picking and somewhat vulnerable vocals, all accentuated by his fellow band mates' hearty percussive strokes, deep dwelling lines of bass, and chalky cuts of cello. It's dramatic stuff, starting humble and gradually gaining momentum as his set progresses. "Oates in the Water" is moody and mystic when paired next to the decidedly peppier "Only Love". "Old Pine" teeters on some stimulating brink, eventually tipping over the edge (also of note, Chris Bond's incredible display of talent, playing both drums and bass at the same time), transitioning into set closer "The Wolves", and ending like some runaway boulder tumbling down a mountain side. The aftermath is a cataclysmic storm of drums, snapping guitar strings, and a delirious crowd taking it all in. It's because of performances like these that Howard was greeted in this country with an enthusiasm that was unbeknownst to him. He's a special talent and we're thrilled to share his music with you today.


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Ben Howard

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