Ben Greenberg - Son of the Hills (Album)

March 19, 2021

"Son of the Hills" is Ben Greenberg's debut album.

It's out today and contains 10 songs. 10 jewels that we invite you to discover here (in case you don't know him). And if you already know this incredible artist, you may find some of your favorites and some new nuggets. We rarely post album reviews because it takes us half a working day, but when it really worth it, we can't help it.

And even better: when the whole team is unanimous on the quality of an entire album, it is essential to tell you about it! Ready for a trip between the pines and hills of California and Notre-Dame-de-Paris? This album is an invitation to travel. Immediate boarding.

01 - End of the Line

As Ben said, "Maybe I could try to bring a little bit more beauty and light and truth into the world". Well, he made it. Again. This song was Ben's fifth feature on Indie Music Center, on November 21, 2020. In each song, Ben Greenberg brings to the independent music world his light and a bit of hope. Sometimes feeling imprisoned by his demons, the Californian artist writes a lot. And writing helps! New horizons, new encounters, his life takes shape through his songs, and our favorite Californian finds like a second birth in music. A bit like a turning point in his very young career, 'End of the Line' brings new sounds to his upcoming album. An electric guitar, delicately placed, dresses the song wonderfully. A little confusing at first, when you know the first songs of the poet of the Northern Pines, which are usually much more acoustic. But ultimately, the electric guitar brings Ben a new string to his bow, a new tool to express his feelings. And God knows we never have enough tools to express ourselves. Once again here, the writing is more than worked on. Great poetry, set to music with talent and humility.

02 - River

This song was the third feature for Ben Greenberg at Indie Music Center, on August 28, 2020. When he submitted to us this new track, we tried an experiment. Approving the song even before listening to it, as we were really convinced that his work is always worth it. And we were right. This song is perfect to fit our concept based on emotions. And "perfect" is a word that has real meaning for us, but sometimes difficult for artists to accept. Because Ben Greenberg is a bit like The Satellite Station: perfectionist, and humble. And as we always say: criticism is easier to accept than compliment. Our favorite Californian writes with his heart. And that's what touches us the most in his music. In a discussion, Ben does not express his feelings. But he sings them. Music is his escape route. It's a safe bet that the artist still doubts his talent, even after recording the song, and the final result after a good mastering. And it is even certain that he still doubts when he sends us the song. But for us, there is no doubt: the talent is there. The artist has inserted a new instrument in this track: the electric guitar, present on a frenzied solo. But the ingredients that make his music so wonderful remain the same: a spellbinding voice, a catchy melody, and a relaxing atmosphere. Despite a correct 3:45 duration, when we reach the end, we have only one desire: to listen again.

03 - Northern Pines

It was the first Ben Greenberg song that we shared on Indie Music Center on June 26, 2020. It's a song about homesickness and nostalgia when Ben needed to regain his roots, surrounded by nature and the pines of Northern California. As he says, "It’s about discovering that the world is a tougher place than you thought it would be, wondering if you’ve lost your way and yearning for a place or time where you felt comfortable and belonging. For me, that place is my hometown in Northern California, where the hills are lined with pine trees and redwoods and the tranquility of nature is always close by". We all have our safe place, where we can find comfort, inspiration, and inner peace. Ours is this music platform, for example! With a perfectly mastered voice and writing skills, Ben Greenberg benefits from a high level of production quality. A state of mind and a sensitivity which are expressed, without any secret, in his music, and in particular in this single. We especially appreciate the catchy melody of the chorus, which stays in our heads for hours.

04 - Let You Down

North Bay Area's artist was back one month later, on July 25th, with this second single. A little bit different from the previous single, "Let You Down" seduced us from the first seconds. We couldn't tell you why, but Ben Greenberg's voice has something very relaxing and calming. He could sing to us anything. The result would be the same, magic works. With amazing vocals, reaching easily the highest notes in the chorus, he really succeeded in creating a musical universe of his own! And we totally adhere. As Ben told us, this new song is "about shame and self-judgment, and the way those negative emotions can be amplified when we keep secrets from those who care about us the most". Words that can speak to everyone. Anyway, it totally spoke to us. With this second feature, Ben Greenberg was comfortably settled on the IMC, and we even said that "you may hear from him again in the next few months". We weren't that wrong.

05 - Sparrow

Do you know the 7 wonders of the world? Here is the 7th wonder of Ben Greenberg that we offered you at Indie Music Center, two weeks ago. Ben Greenberg launched this new single to announce the album that is releasing today! March is going to be busy for our artist, who only sent us the track the night before the release date. But we understand it. Normally, the promotion period is intense. We forgive him. Because it is always with great pleasure that we immerse our ears in a new sound from Ben Greenberg. We know in advance that we will not be disappointed. "Sparrow" amazes with its fluidity. The key changes surprised me a little at first, but ultimately they give the song such consistency. A track that could destabilize fans of the traditional "Intro, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus, Chorus" scheme. But the beauty and the poetry are still there. Ben uses words brilliantly to make us dream and give us the hope we need. Oh yes. I forgot. I dared to reproach him... But rest assured, he didn't hold it against me. With only 2:18 this new gem is too short. Spring is coming. The sparrows are singing. The sun warms us. And Ben Greenberg's album is already shaping up to be the most beautiful bird of Spring 2021.

06 - Milk & Honey

"Milk & Honey" is one of the unreleased tracks, and is the most relaxing track on the album. In this stripped ballad, the artist wonders about the famous "American Dream": "Did I have it too easy?". Childhood memories, current situation, like a journey through time for our songwriter. The voice, very present, on this piece, and almost "naked", since the song does not include vocal harmonies, makes us realize once again that Ben has astonishing vocal capacities. Like a break in the middle of the album, "Milk & Honey" is exactly in the right place.

07 - Our Lady

It has already been nearly two years since Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral burned down. Partially destroyed, and saved by brave firefighters, the building is still standing and is still being restored. I perfectly remember that day, watching the monument burn all night long on the news channels, and hoping there will be something left. It was on April 15, 2019, and I think I will never forget that date. As a Frenchman, it was experienced as an ordeal in our country. The monument is emblematic and was often represented all around the world. A bit like our second Eiffel Tower, if I can say so. Dear reader, I'm not able to know where each one of you lives, but imagine, for a second, that your country's most famous monument is disappearing overnight. I can tell you that it's heartbreaking. Ben Greenberg tried to capture this moment, imagining himself as the Hunchback of Notre-Dame and wrote down what he might have said that night to Esmeralda. What a great idea. No one had ever thought of this point of view. Ben's creative genius will always amaze me. Even though the text is quite short, it is full of poetry and fantastic images. And we project ourselves very easily on the drama scene. What could be more moving than one of your favorite artists winking at your country? And above all, to one of its most famous symbols. As usual, Ben brings us all his restraint, his humility, and his talent for interpretation. The vocals are even calmer than usual with him, and this soft universe definitely suits him very well. I am really delighted that my favorite Californian has finally found his self-confidence and that today, he lets us enjoy, without shame, the full extent of his creativity. This was the sixth feature for Ben Greenberg on Indie Music Center, on December 18, 2020. Like a Christmas present :)

08 - For Nick

We talk a lot about humanity in this album. And especially in this song which is a tribute to Nick Drake. And since we're all human, after all, I admit that I missed this single, because unfortunately, or fortunately haha, I had too many artists to promote at that time. But luckily, it's never too late. For those who don't know, Nick Drake was an incredible British musician, who died in the 1970s at just 26 years old. The artist was a great inspiration to Ben Greenberg, who pays him homage in this song. A ballad that is, above all, folk-oriented, with a sublime acoustic guitar, and surprise, absolutely divine piano parts. In short. I love it.

09 - Son of the Hills

This single was the fourth feature for Ben Greenberg at Indie Music Center! It was on October 1st 2020. We could already feel in "Northern Pines", the love that Ben Greenberg had for his region. From the pines to the hills, there's only one small step. A mostly acoustic track, featuring calm verses and powerful choruses, carried by an incredible voice that will always leave us speechless. When you listen to Ben, you just have to close your eyes to set the landscape. And it works. Again! Watching the sunset, enjoying every moment of his life, the artist writes with his soul. When we hear such beautiful descriptions of California, we only want to move and discover this amazing state. At that time, I remember I wrote "the biggest news we could expect from Ben is an album announcement. We can't wait to hear all his wonderful tracks in a full-length record". Okay, a few months later, here we are!

10 - Mirror Mirror

Could Ben make it even shorter than "Sparrow"? Yes! "Mirror Mirror", which closes the album beautifully, is a very folk roots track in only two minutes. The banjo is omnipresent, and in this final song, the artist questions his image. Much like in Snow White, where the queen polled her mirror every morning to see if she was still the prettiest, Ben questions his mirror to find out if the girl he covets cares for him or not. He confesses his long-standing love to this mirror and finally asks it if love is going to knock on his door. Love is not a very present theme in Ben Greenberg's songs (unlike 99.9% of songs today). And that suits him pretty well. "Mirror Mirror" is a perfect conclusion.

To summarize

Since June 26, 2020, when I posted a review for his debut single "Northern Pines", I have never doubted the talent of Ben Greenberg. I have always believed in him, single after single, and he always surprised me, amazed me, and blew me away. I have been waiting for this album for a long time, and I am not disappointed.

Ben Greenberg is more than a musician to me. Month after month, release after release, he became a friend. Our discussions have always been enriching, on all subjects. He is one of the few artists who understood that genuine relationships matter in the music industry.

Although I already knew 8 out of 10 songs, since they were released as a single, the discovery of the two unreleased tracks was a pretty cool experience.

And the whole album is really coherent and logical. No matter which instrument you prefer, there is something for everyone in this record.

I admit that I have only one regret: that there are only 10 songs. I would have preferred 12 or 14, to make the pleasure last a little longer.

"Son of the Hills" is Ben Greenberg's debut album. It's out today March 19, 2020. And I challenge you to find a better album this year than this one.

Most of the tracks are already included on our "IMC Certified Artists" Spotify playlist.

Also, Ben is running a contest on his social media, allowing you to win some freebies if you help him promote his album. Visit his Instagram to find out more (link below).

Follow Ben Greenberg

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