Ben Walker was recently hailed as one of ‘the best acoustic guitarists in the world right now’ by Total Guitar magazine.
Hailing from rural Worcestershire, he is inspired by finding the past in the present, by the languages and lived experience of ordinary people and the names, songs and stories that reflect each other down the ages. A versatile composer as well as a celebrated instrumentalist, his passion is putting old jewels in new settings.
Mark Radcliffe (BBC Radio 2 Folk Show) describes him as "a great guitarist, composer and producer". After six critically acclaimed albums and a BBC Folk Award as a duo with Josienne Clarke, and more than fifty records as a producer of other artists, Ben Walker's signature style has been sought out from punk to Proms, from Rough Trade to the Royal Shakespeare Company.
He had already built a reputation among his peers for fusing tradition, for innovation and for playing like absolutely no-one else when he released his first solo record in 2018. An EP, The Fox on the Downs showcased his mastery of his instrument and his love for traditional English music.
His first full album, Echo, was released in July 2019 - a reminder that with Ben, ‘guitarist’ has never quite covered it. A collection of original pieces, traditional songs and poems set to music, critics have given it a rapturous reception, with folk and world music bible fRoots magazine the first to welcome it as ‘a profound statement connecting past and present - it sounds very special’.
Verity Sharp picked it up for BBC Radio 3’s legendary The Late Junction within a week of release, telling listeners ‘it just floors me every time I hear it.’
The Guardian remarked on ‘hauntology reminiscent of Gavin Bryars’ after declaring it simply ‘stunning’.
Songlines Magazine gave it a coveted five star review, calling it ‘ambitious, distinctive and brilliantly achieved’.
In between producing and playing for other artists, Ben is thoroughly enjoying bringing his characteristically warm, whimsical and virtuosic set to folk audiences and festivals in the UK and Europe throughout 2019. With red hot irons in the fire for 2020; collaborations with the best of a new generation of folk musicians as well as a major new solo project, you could be forgiven for thinking he's just getting started.
Reviews for Echo
'That just floors me every time I hear it…his guitar playing is second to none.'
Verity Sharp, BBC Radio 3, The Late Junction
‘beautiful… stunning, some of the best guitar playing you are likely to hear and the best ending of any track I’ve ever played on this show’.
Greg Russell, BBC New Traditions
'gorgeous...a lovely album. Incredibly atmospheric, absolutely beautiful'
Genevieve Tudor, BBC Sunday Folk
'Stunning… from hauntology reminiscent of Gavin Bryers...to gorgeous duets'
‘Ambitious, distinctive and brilliantly achieved.’
'A profound statement connecting past and present…very special.'
‘...well deserving of your attention’
‘Ben’s reputation for melding tradition with ground-breaking, innovative, indeed passionate music is truly enhanced with this exceptional release.’
Folk Radio UK
'Sublime, intelligent, totally compelling...dazzling from start to finish'
The Living Tradition
‘Hypnotically beautiful...quietly majestic...amazing'
'An intensely thoughtful album, one whose depth of creation belies its gentle and unassuming nature and thus is not to be underestimated.'
‘Echo is een intrigerend en tijdloos album’
'Stunning from start to finish'
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Ben's workshops for intermediate and advanced guitarists interested in learning new techniques are always well received.
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Get in touch if you would like to talk about working with Ben as an arranger or a featured artist on your music.
Ben's skill is in creating sounds that fit perfectly with the spirit of the song.
If you are interested in recording with Ben, or if you already have tracks recorded but want them mixed beautifully, get in touch here.