BEN OTTEWELL – Rattlebag

Album: Rattlebag

Artist: Ben Ottewell

Label: The End

Release Date: October 21, 2014

Ben Ottewell

www.theendrecords.com

BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

After the release of his somewhat subdued debut, Shapes and Shadows in 2011, Ben Ottewell left the impression that despite his willingness to venture out on his own, his day job as singer and guitarist with Gomez was still secure and would still garner his primary focus. With Rattlebag, his superb sophomore set, Ottewell has clearly given himself the option of pursuing a solo path that may well be every bit as viable as his efforts with the band.

Here he morphs effectively into the role of a hardbitten Americana minstrel, armed mainly with acoustic guitar as the focus of his rustic trappings. It’s somewhat surprising given his rural English roots, but with a voice that can convey a sense of brutally direct outrage (check out his fiery growl both on opener “Rattlebag” or the haunting and harrowing “Patience & Rosaries” for example), his conviction is never in doubt. Fortunately, Ottewell is fully capable of changing his tact, and when he shifts into the easy-rolling cadence of “Stone” and the ethereal and effortless “No Place,” his troubadour trappings can be quite convincing.

Whatever course Ottewell opts to embark on will clearly serve him well, but for now, this Rattlebag proves an effective proviso for hooks and happenstance.

DOWNLOAD: “Rattlebag,” “Patience & Rosaries,” “Stone”

 

 

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