West Chester songwriter Ben Smith has been writing and performing songs in area bands over the past decade. His first solo album, recorded at Milkboy Studios, has Smith revisiting some of the same literary ground and baroque arrangements admirers have always liked about his work with Wise and Foolish Builders and the more recent Missing Palmer West. This time around Smith is mixing piano and guitar with strings and horns, accordions and choirs. The result sounds both traditional—at home in some front parlor or back barroom—and sophisticated, something overheard echoing down a chamber hall. The new record, to be released this fall, catalogs a wide index of topics: gangsters and love potions, stones and bayonets, runaways and rumors, and even each of the seven wonders of the world. WXPN’s Bruce Warren is a fan, calling Smith’s music “all good things warm and welcoming.”
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