From the Western bank of the Maumee River lies Toledo, Ohio, a factory town that laid the groundwork for Ben Stalets’ blue collar mixture of traditional country, blues and folk. His shit-eating grin gives way to a Hank Williams howl, a knack for storytelling reminiscent of your grand pappy, and a level of honesty only shared amongst life-long friends. Rough around the edges like your favorite pair of dungarees, he’s comfortable enough to joke, but close enough to tell the brutal morning-after truth. Finger picking and a dose of the truth set up an endearing sound that reminds one of the pain, but gives way to the nice buzz that makes them feel comfortable enough to talk about it.
Ben's newest single "Lost" is perhaps his most poignant and profound to date. Equal parts Levon Helm as it is Justin Earl Townes, Stalets weaves a lengthy tale down the path less traveled in a familiar, almost nostalgic timbre. Joined by an all star cast of major players in the Great Lakes folk scene (members of Jack and the Bear and Dragon Wagon leave their mark equally over the track) and backed up by his faithful combo, Stalets mixes minimalist folk with maximalist style 70's rock production. Chorus guitars shine as daringly bright as any classic Big Star recording, while you never lose focus of Ben's gritty baritone. "Lost" is a step forward for Stalets and hopefully just a glimpse into an even brighter musical future.
"Toledo, Ohio’s Ben Stalets has a time out of mind quality about him, of sidestepping from contemporary musical trends. Rough and rustic, his new single “Lost” is built around a soft chugging rhythm and gritty harmonies. A bit of ragtime piano flares up unexpectedly, setting up the light ivory twinkling and an antique fiddle that winds its way through the dense backdrop. Thick with an Appalachian folksiness, it has that aura of soaking under a grey rain. Despite the autumnal feel, “Lost” still laced with a whimsical perspective. " –Popmatters
Rohs Street Café
Saturday March 21st
8p Doors / 9p show