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Ben Woolman is a solo guitarist from Minnesota specializing in finger style performances on steel string guitar who amazes his audiences by an ability to layer cross and counter rhythms in relative fashion to the primary melody which gives the impression of multiple performers at his side.
Performing with multiple artists is not the case at all here, in fact his blending of harmonies and counter rhythms at the solo level are also without the assistance of dubbing, making his individual abilities a much rarer find than many other guitarists in the solo category.
Many Moods is his current release that projects his unique abilities in finger style guitar and this latest is another fine example of his more expansive 10 total albums that Ben Woolman has produced during his lifetime. In addition, his longtime repertoire while playing guitar encompasses many genre elements like Folk, Blues, Jazz, Neo Classical, Latin, Celtic, and African, fusing many interwoven components that attest to his proficiency at a complicated technique.
Excelling in finger style guitar is precisely what makes the signature style of Ben Woolman quite unique. In a perfectionist blend of layered counter rhythms, the applause given at the end of any performance goes to Ben Woolman alone and his singular talent for mastering the intricate counter melody technique.
The University of Wisconsin is one of the only colleges in the United States offering a degree in finger style guitar and exactly where Ben studied under a cooperative program with the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with honors in Guitar Performance which nicely enhance his natural composing and performance abilities.
Many Moods features 11 songs that offer a nice variation in manner and perception with 8 original compositions that do attain the numerous mood variations this aptly named album suggests. The 3 remaining songs are renditions of The Police, Blind Blake and James Horner, and the challenging task of incorporating Rock, Jazz, and Cinematic music influences into Solo Guitar is pulled off with ease.
One Afternoon is the first song on the Many Moods album and one nice characterization of his individual style given the Folk with a light hearted feel similar in mood to Contemporary Sadie’s Smile. Lighter images appear in a more contemplative Me, myself and You and faster paced Up and Back is a nice progressive piece, along with the briskly paced rhythms in Wicked Ascent.
A more Jazz style orientation can be heard in Salamander Swing and then Blake Says is an upbeat Blues tune that is sure to make you smile. Mazurka Dance is a World & Latin influenced piece and another bright number that highlights his proficiency at finger style guitar.
The 3 renditions make great listening too, and this entire album is a fine introduction to not only a proficient artist, but a wonderful musician that kindly restructures his challenging handiwork into uncomplicated and relaxing moods on our behalf.
Visit benwoolman.net to sample / purchase or at his CDBaby.com page. To find out more about Ben and view his full discography and song videos click here.
Photo Copyright benwoolman.net courtesy of Rebecca Pavlenko.