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Ben Rabb is a touring Los Angeles-based-by way of New York City singer/songwriter, whose soulful lyrics and authentic approach to performance make him a refreshing, unique standout in an industry where realism often takes a backseat to the bells and whistles of pop production.
"Living in New York City is like tug of war. I'm constantly going back and forth deciding if I like it here," says indie-folk songwriter Ben Rabb, whose first EP, Until It's Gone, was written after an influential move to NYC. "These songs are about me trying to make sense of my experiences here. New York is a place with a lot of people, a lot of noise, a lot of ups and downs… which makes it a great muse."
From "Inside Llewyn Davis" to the cover of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, folk music and New York City have enjoyed a long, entwined history. Rabb is the newest member of that story, a modern folksinger steeped in the fingerpicked sounds of the greats — James Taylor, Eric Andersen, Joni Mitchell — but more closely aligned with modern, indie-minded songwriters like David Gray. There's a gentle lilt to his voice and a swoon to his guitar work. Boosted by lightly layered arrangements courtesy of producer Mike Davidson (known for his engineering work on albums by Regina Spektor, St. Vincent and Jose Gonzalez), Until It's Gone sounds like the sort of easy-going album you'd play while drinking your coffee on Sunday morning. Just don't be surprised if you find yourself playing these six songs throughout the rest of the week, too.
Everything started in the Midwest, where Rabb spent his first 10 years. He grew up listening to folk music, learning about the older stuff from his parents and getting a more up-to-date education from his older sister, who passed along many of her own albums. After the family moved to Connecticut, Rabb picked up the guitar and began strumming his first chords as a teenager. By college, he was writing songs. A job offer took him to St. Louis after graduation. By the time he finally moved to New York in his mid-20s, Rabb had already spent a decade jumping from city to city, steadily collecting the stories that would eventually fill his own music.
"When I moved to New York," he remembers, "I started going to a songwriter's circle. I just got swallowed up in listening to a lot of new songwriters I really liked and respected. These people were making a contemporary sound by building on a traditional side of folk music. It was super Americana, but it also had this indie sound. It was a bit of an eye-opener for me."
Rabb quickly became a member of the local folk community. He hit the city's concert circuit, too, playing regular gigs at venues like the Living Room and Rockwood Music Hall. When it came time to record Until It's Gone, though, he headed north to Mike Davidson's studio in Boston, MA. There, Rabb recorded six songs about life and love, decorating the songs with piano, bass, acoustic guitar and brushed percussion.
Like many good writers, he looks to the outside world for influence on several songs. The most poignant of the bunch, "Take My Hand," was written after Rabb watched a breaking news update about the Syrian civil war. Until It's Gone is mostly a personal affair, though, performed with understated grace by a storyteller who brings us into his own world for 23 minutes.
"Rabb is a gifted storyteller with the unique ability to pull you in to relate to what he's feeling. It's the manner in which he does so with his lyrics, vocals and instrumentation that separates him from the rest." - Performer Magazine
"One of the Strongest Singer/Songwriter releases yet this year... Some musicians struggle their whole lives and are lucky to craft six songs this good and Rabb has done it right off. Songs to reach deep down and grab your soul. Songs to uplift and to bring down. Songs to embrace and remember." - FAME
"It’s fairly obvious even early on that Rabb will be around for a while, and indeed, Until It’s Gone suggests he has the talent and tenacity to sustain him for quite some time." - No Depression
"Rabb certainly tells a story in each of his songs, transporting listeners into his world with both sound and song." - Mountain Times
"If only New York City would pay more attention to artists such as Ben Rabb as opposed to Wall Street." - Minor 7th
"New York City-based singer/songwriter Ben Rabb is looking to make a name for himself on the indie folk scene and if debut EP “Until It’s Gone” is any indication, he’s well on his way." - Pittsburgh in Tune
"This album a very relatable and compelling listen while at the same time there is something beautiful in the inspiration that you’ll find in the midst of the brokenness that Rabb openly displays." - One Stop Country
"Ben Rabb is a fresh addition to the folk scene in New York City with his debut album, Until It’s Gone.... He lets you into the intimate details of every tale he tells throughout Until It's Gone." - Hit It Off Media
"The press release for the EP suggested listening to it while drinking Sunday morning coffee, yet it will have you wanting to listen to it again the rest of the week. I normally try not to be swayed by what publicists write about an artist or album. But Until It's Gone is just that kind of an album." - BVS Reviews
"In six songs Ben Rabb take you with him into his world, for 23 minutes long this man walks you into his live, this thoughts, his fears and his hopes." - Billy Bop
Matt Kelly / Michael J. Media
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