There may be no new stories in the world and only eight notes in an octave, but where music is endlessly fascinating is in the places artists find within the nooks and crannies of those stories and notes. Sometimes an artist comes up with work that recalls history and also casts a fresh light on it; that sounds comfortingly familiar yet different enough to be fascinating. There’s no formula for that – it’s a product of the skill and talent of the individual concerned.
American Ben Bostick’s five-song EP, My Country, is pure contemporary-nostalgic joy. Bostick knows his musical history – and clearly has a pedigree – and he delivers it in a delightful way. He has a rare voice – deep, commanding yet playful, seductive. He can sound like he’s laughing with the listener – sometimes at the listener, but not maliciously – and also deliver a song seriously when required.
The title track, ‘My Country’, is a hootenanny of a song – everything that is upbeat and uplifting, and raucous and funny, about country music. In defending ‘my country’ – his country music – Bostick makes the case for why country, at its contemporary best (as opposed to its dark past), is a music of good times and escape from the humdrum of everyday life. Bostick has a rollicking way of phrasing something so that it’s both an invitation and a challenge: ‘If you ain’t never done something that you regret/Then I’m proud of ya – now get’.
The other four songs are honky-tonk gems of self-awareness and occasional sadness, but there’s never a hint that Bostick will find himself in the mire. There’s too much strength in his voice for that – and too much assurance in the way these songs are written and played. He’s the closest thing to a sure bet that I’ve seen in a new artist in recent times – by which I mean I’d go to a show and buy an album without knowing anything more about him. The future of country music in the United States is safe if it’s in hands like his.
You can buy My Country on Bandcamp.
Find Ben online at benbostick.com