....coming very soon to this website.
I'm an unapologetic Tom Waits fanatic. Everything about the man - from his music, to his persona, and even his eye for photos - just strikes a chord with me, so much that hearing anyone with a gruff voice described as Waits-y or some hybrid thereof (the ole whiskey worn or gargling glass voice) turns me off an artist before I even hear them. I usually turn to the terrific line from Matt Arbogast of The Gunshy, "this fucker sounds just like Tom Waits, Do we need another Tom Waits?”
The thing is, Waits trademark voice is only part of the equation. The music that accompanies his gruff delivery is of equal importance. That's why when you find an artist talented enough to deserve the comparison - like Halifax resident Ben Caplan - you start to look past the powerful voice and fixate on the notes that accompany it.
Caplan and his talented band - The Casual Smokers - will undoubtedly garner review after review build around on his voice, but even when they deliver the roughest of bar room stomps, there is a surprising depth and musicianship to the songs. Stand up bass, classical trained strings (violin and cello), flute, sax and terrific use of call and response sing-along choruses all help Caplan and the Casual Smokers stand out from the masses influenced by the same sounds.
They recorded a few songs in The Chapel at the University of King's College in Halifax and mixed them the next day. Considering the tight time lines, the result - three songs: Conduit, Beautiful and Stranger - capture the energy of the band and show the potential of the upcoming full length they have slated for later in the year. The five minute Stranger finds the band moving at a restrained pace, heightening the tension before Caplan's voice explodes and dares the strings and flute to balance the effort. Beautiful shows what happens when Caplan opts for a smoother, more melodic delivery and shows the band is more than a one trick pony.
read more: http://www.herohill.com/2010/03/ben-caplan-casual-smokers.htm
"Caplan and his talented band - The Casual Smokers - will undoubtedly garner review after review build around on his voice, but even when they deliver the roughtest of bar room stomps, there is a surprising depth and musicianship to the songs... Caplan and the Casual Smokers stand out from the masses influenced by the same sounds."
-Bryan Acker, Herohill.com
"I really like your stuff. And now I want everyone out there to hear your stuff… it’s kind of rough around the edges, has a real sort of bar room, salooney, Tom Waits vibe to it; wicked playing, and great delivery. I cannot wait until the full length real record comes out."
-Craig Norris, Host CBC Radio 3:
Although still able to recognize fear-evoking facial expressions, there is a clear indication that Ben Caplan has experienced some damage to his anterior and possibly even posterior amygdale.
-Joe Bigda-Peyton, Psychology Major
"The music of Ben Caplan is the cure for diarrhea, malaria, and malignant ennui! Third world nation's rejoice!"
-Joe Girard, Expert:
Ben Caplan: guitar, banjo, keyboards, vocals
Signe Bone: violin
Matt Gallant: percussion
Emma Morgan-Thorp: cello
Asher Nehring: bass
Neal Read: flute, sax, literacy