SONG PREMIERE: Ben Winship Thinks Like a Mountain With Rootsy Folk Tune “Always the Mountain”

They call it studio magic, but the truth is that the best recording studios aren’t wonka-esque wonderlands of fancy gear, they’re humble churches to the joys of making music. Roots musician, recording engineer, and well-traveled sideman Ben Winship knows this well. He’s grown his backyard space, The Henhouse in tiny Victor, Idaho, into a renowned recording space centered less on the gear and more on the vibe, the kind of easy relaxed musical space that calls out for new songs and old tunes. It’s also the space where he’s been working on two ambitious albums, each one a separate showcase of his talents and perspectives and both of them full-to-the-rafters with powerful guests and friends.

To be released together July 19, both albums, Toolshed and Acorns, showcase Ben’s songwriting, arranging, and musicianship with a host of artists he’s come to know from years of performing on the road. Toolshed showcases a full-band sound, forming Americana and country-rock soundscapes and featuring guests like Louisiana legend Ivan Neville, bluegrass legend Joe Newberry, Travis Book of The Infamous Stringdusters, Grammy-winning fingerstyle guitarist Mike Dowling, and Stanton Moore, the drummer for Galactic. Acorns showcases a more organic roots music world based around late-night jam sessions and picking parties, and includes guests like Canadian artists Pharis Romero and Chris Coole, plus Northwest guitarist Forrest Gibson and fiddler Rayna Gellert. Both albums feature Brittany Haas, Eli West, and Mollie O’Brien, among others.

Releasing two albums at once may be a daunting prospect for any artist, but Ben Winship needs this much space. He’s got a much longer musical wingspan than most artists, and easily bears the weight not only of so many stellar guests and all kinds of complex arrangements, but also his own outstanding musicianship and songwriting throughout.

Today Glide is excited to premiere, “Always the Mountain”, one of the standout tracks on the Toolshed album. Featuring impressive interplay between bluesy acoustic guitar and fiddle, Winship channels his inner Woddy Guthrie as he rails against the environmental destruction that comes from mining and oil extraction. He potent lyrical imagery feels earthy and hard-hitting, with Winship taking on the role of prophet as he warns of the dangers that come from destroying the world we live in. There is a political tone to this folksy song but it isn’t overbearing and we come away feeling refreshed at hearing such a powerful statement. 

Winship describes the inspiration behind the song:

“Ever since I was a kid I’ve been motivated to write ‘save the earth’ songs, but it’s hard to avoid sounding too pablum or preachy. I’d like to think I got closer on this one. The idea of ‘thinking like a mountain’ comes from Aldo Leopold’s jaw-dropping Sand County Almanac. Also a nod to Wendell Berry for ‘another turn of the crank’. I loved having Joe Newberry, Mollie O’Brien and Travis Book as my choir!”

LISTEN:

Toolshed and Acorns are both out on July 19th. For more music and info visit benwinship.com.

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