10 Songs, 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

BRIT Award-winning folk-rocker Ben Howard spent time in southwest France and Cornwall, England, creating Noonday Dream; the result is some of Howard’s most impressive and immersive songs yet. Where his debut Every Kingdom favored catchy hooks and rhythms and I Forget Where We Were introduced meditative darkness, Noonday Dream is, as the album title suggests, a series of unpredictable yet brilliant scenes that disappear too quickly. Ambitious tracks “Nica Libres at Dusk” and “A Boat to an Island, Pt. 2 / Agatha’s Song” move like short films, with Howard’s low voice providing poetic narration. “Murmurations” closes the album with a moving sentiment: Ignore the outside noise and be present for what matters.

EDITORS’ NOTES

BRIT Award-winning folk-rocker Ben Howard spent time in southwest France and Cornwall, England, creating Noonday Dream; the result is some of Howard’s most impressive and immersive songs yet. Where his debut Every Kingdom favored catchy hooks and rhythms and I Forget Where We Were introduced meditative darkness, Noonday Dream is, as the album title suggests, a series of unpredictable yet brilliant scenes that disappear too quickly. Ambitious tracks “Nica Libres at Dusk” and “A Boat to an Island, Pt. 2 / Agatha’s Song” move like short films, with Howard’s low voice providing poetic narration. “Murmurations” closes the album with a moving sentiment: Ignore the outside noise and be present for what matters.

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About Ben Howard

A mercurial British singer/songwriter who rose to prominence on the basis of his 2011 LP, Every Kingdom, Ben Howard was born in London in 1987, growing up in South Devon, where his mother's collection of folk records helped instill a love for Joni Mitchell, Donovan, and Richie Havens. Howard also developed an interest in surfing, briefly moving to Newquay, the surf capital of the U.K., where he received class credit for working at a surfing magazine. Howard dropped out of school six months shy of graduation, though, convinced by the surf community's enthusiastic response to his music -- which, despite its acoustic folk sound and beachy vibe, sounded more like John Martyn than Jack Johnson -- that he should ditch the newsroom and focus on songwriting.

The surf community proved to be a big stepping stone for Howard, who found himself playing to packed audiences long before his music spread beyond the U.K. beaches. A European tour with Xavier Rudd helped him build a wider audience in late 2008, as did the release of EPs like These Waters and Old Pine. By the time Howard finished recording his full-length debut, Every Kingdom, in 2011, he'd signed a major-label deal with Island Records (the same label that once released music by John Martyn) and graduated to headliner status, thanks to growing fan bases in England, Germany, France, and Holland. Every Kingdom proved to be a breakout release in the U.K., earning Howard a Mercury Prize nomination and two BRIT Awards for British Breakthrough Act and British Solo Male Artist, and eventually going platinum.

For his much anticipated sophomore set, I Forget Where We Were, he took a somewhat more electric approach and was rewarded with strong reviews and sales; it debuted at number one on the U.K. charts. In the spring of 2017, Howard took part in a collaborative project alongside several other artists including Mickey Smith and India Bourne. The mysterious sextet, called A Blaze of Feather, began appearing at high-profile U.K. festivals throughout the year, releasing a self-titled full-length a few months later. The year 2018 began with the announcement of Howard's impending third LP, Noonday Dream, which he introduced with the dreamy seven-minute single "A Boat to an Island on the Wall." ~ Andrew Leahey

HOMETOWN
London, England
BORN
24 April 1987

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