Episode 188 - Ben Cosgrove.
Dan Sterenchuk and Tommy Estlund are honored to have as our guest, Ben Cosgrove.
In the spring of 2021, landscape-inspired composer and traveling pianist Ben Cosgrove released The Trouble With Wilderness, a lush, textured, and expansive set of twelve new songs that consider the role of nature and wildness in the built environment. “I found I was spending a lot of time on stage talking about national parks and oceans and wilderness areas, and not enough about the places that people are more likely to encounter in their everyday lives,” explains Cosgrove, whose career has included artist residencies and collaborations with Acadia and Isle Royale National Parks, White Mountain National Forest, the Schmidt Ocean Institute, the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, and the New England National Scenic Trail, as well as solo performances in 48 states.
He assigned himself the challenge of writing a set of songs that would allow him to correct this oversight, and quickly found the decision to be eerily well-timed: almost immediately after he began writing and recording demos, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic would force virtually everyone on the planet both to find a new appreciation for the world just outside their front door and to reconsider the impermeability of whatever boundary they might have imagined to exist between the natural world and the human one. It also put Cosgrove, a musician who has traveled constantly for over a decade, in the unusual and terrifying position of having to sit still. “It really made me kind of have to walk the walk, in terms of the ideas I was trying to illustrate with this new music. Instead of driving eight hours to someplace new each morning, I was going on these daylong rambles all over the outskirts of town pretty much every day for months. I was amazed to find what strange, beautiful, and interesting things I noticed as I passed all the same ordinary-seeming places again and again and looked at them more and more closely.”
The production by indie-folk maestro Dan Cardinal (Josh Ritter, Darlingside, Lula Wiles, Session Americana, The Ballroom Thieves) both emphasizes the physicality of the instruments involved and elevates the sounds to places that are uncannily gorgeous and sometimes almost surreal. The result is an uncommonly beautiful set of songs and a massive step forward in Cosgrove’s idiosyncratic and increasingly mature body of work. Like the vernacular landscapes he looked to in composing it, the music on The Trouble With Wilderness sits on the narrow balancing point between order and wildness and manages to lean simultaneously into both.
Check website for more information about Ben and his bio:
His website: https://www.bencosgrove.com
Song excerpt "The Machine in the Garden" used with permission.
Note: Guests create their own bio description for each episode.
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