The summer’s heat took hold on an especially busy 3rd in the Burg last week.
I walked almost an entire block to Midtown Scholar where I met up with Ben Rabb, a singer/songwriter making his way across the country in support of his newest EP, Feel Me Fall.
The L.A. based songwriter returned to Harrisburg for the second time, and we sat down to talk about music, traveling, and inspiration.
MJ: How did you get started in music? Your style now is more of a folk sound, but that typically isn’t a style a lot of musicians start with.
BR: I started writing songs in high school and college, but I have always been into folk music. It’s changed and developed, and hopefully, it’s gotten better over the years! I do a lot of fingerpicking, and that is the style of guitar playing I wanted to learn. I was never in a punk rock band or any other style like a lot of musicians start with.
What inspired you to gravitate towards folk music?
When I was growing up, my parents would listen to a lot of the early folk stuff like James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, and Cat Stevens — that entire era of songwriters I had a lot of exposure to growing up. I still listen to them a lot, but there is a lot of interesting music being made today that I can also draw inspiration from. I listen to music that may be from motion picture scores to soulful artists that are coming out today like Leon Bridges. My wife also listens to a lot of Madonna and Janet Jackson, so I get to listen to a lot of that as well.
How long will you be out on this tour?
I’m doing a 6-week tour now, but I’ll probably be out again later the year in support of the release. There are a lot of cities I want to hit, and the 3rd in the Burg here in Harrisburg is what brought me here and how this show tonight got put together. I tour by myself and it depends on the calendar, but I am always trying to schedule more shows while I’m on tour. I definitely have to schedule myself off days to avoid the 12-hour drives and go see family and friends while I’m out!
So the new EP came out last week?
It just came out last week! It’s a five-song EP, full production, full band, that I recorded up in Boston at Plaid Dog Recording with Mike Davidson doing the production on it. This is my second EP that I’ve released, and it’s available on iTunes now and I’m really proud of how the whole project turned out. I tried to have some texture and layers on the tracks but didn’t want it to be too over produced, and [so I] left room for the tracks to breathe.
I ask every touring musician this, what is your favorite city to perform in?
I would say New York City because I lived there for a long time and it’s always like a homecoming show. I get to see old friends and people I haven’t seen in awhile. There is always a good turnout and great support from the city. There are so many cool venues and stages to play in New York so it’s always a great time. I was in a few songwriting circles in New York, and it really pushed me and developed my abilities. You’re only as good as the last song that you sat down and wrote.
What do you want for your future in music?
I would say something that I’ve been trying to work on is building a solid fan base by grinding it out and doing shows. Of course, being on a TV show or getting some huge exposure would be great, but I think touring and playing as many shows as possible will grow my music and fan base as a good long term perspective on what I want to do.
It was great to sit down with Ben and talk to him about growing up playing guitar and the influences that affect his music.
His perspective on the work it takes to make a living out of music shows that this isn’t just a hobby and creativity and writing has to happen daily.
Check out Ben Rabb’s Facebook page to his latest adventures as he travels across the country writing, singing, and finding inspiration in the people he meets and the places he goes.