The Sound Cafe
Edmonton-Based Ben Sures Set To Release His Tenth Album 'The Story That Lived Here'
By Jason Schneider.
Ben Sures is a storyteller. On his tenth album, The Story That Lived Here -- officially available Jan. 21 on all digital platforms, the Edmonton-based songwriter, guitarist and author weaves tales inspired by friends and fans. They are songs about library ladies and dive bar denizens, accidents and grieving, and at least one song about the end of the world.
Sures’ 25-year-deep catalogue is eclectic, spanning folk, country, jazz and Rock’n’Roll, and borrowing from blues, Sinti swing and West African guitar. But The Story That Lived Here -- recorded mostly live at Tobacco and Rose Studios in Victoria, BC, with old friends Richard Moody (viola, violin, mandolin and vocals) and Scott White (upright bass), and with Rebecca Campbell adding backup vocals and percussion remotely from Toronto -- is a satisfyingly cohesive and tender bluegrass-tinged album with a steady heartbeat. It’s the perfect accompaniment for Sures’ funny, honest, quirkily wise and wistful tunes.
“In case it’s the end of the world, I’m gonna have a cinnamon bun ...” Sures quips to kick the record off, addressing a universal desire for comfort going hand in hand with a newfound vulnerability. In "Before We Had Sarah," a couple with grown kids try to romantically reconnect, while "Boring People" is perhaps the most sparse, evocative performance of Sures’ career to date. Elsewhere, "Cry Like A Flood" was inspired by fellow songwriter Kat Goldman’s story of a music career interrupted, while "No One Will Remember You" takes a poke at cover band culture.
Two further songs on The Story That Lived Here pay tribute to Sures’ father, ceramic artist and Member of the Order of Canada Jack Sures, who passed away in 2018 and to whom the album is dedicated (along with Mitch Pololak, Michael Laderoute, and Thérèse Duffy).
“We put so much stock into people at the end of their life,” Sures says about the title track. “What was the last thing they said? The person is often on the wickedest cocktail of their life and they don’t know where they are. The meaningful time is the life.” In "Father’s Shoes," Sures finds an apt metaphor for grieving that could apply equally as well to his music: “They’re a funny combination of neon green and blues,” he sings. The shoe certainly fits...
With The Story That Lived Here, Ben Sures has made the record he always wanted to make since listening to Guy Clark’s Old Friends obsessively in the late '80s. Starting with the end of the world and ending with a yard sale...