You can rest assured that Ben Sures is still making great tried and true folk tunes with his signature sense of charm. As this strange world spins insufferably through the cold, unfeeling ether of space, his songs will undeniably find a way to warm your heart, tickle your funny bone a little, and maybe even lighten your mood. Who couldn’t use all that these days?
When he arrives on the Arden stage on Saturday, Jan. 22, the moment will surely be welcome relief for all and for myriad reasons. In some ways, he’s coming to save the world, or at least offer some positive change and some good vibes, with some new threads for your wardrobe for good measure. He’ll make you feel better.
“Music is like hugs,” he began, offering some Sures-style philosophy upon which he quickly began to expound.
“I think some people who were very isolated over the last two years may have realized that they're missing that human contact. I think music satisfies us in similar ways. It's almost like a physical need. I don't know if there's some kind of science behind physical vibration and creation that then reaches people in a certain way, like the smell of a fall day walking through crunching leaves or whatever. I don't exactly know, but I do know that I think the last two years has helped reinforce for some people what does matter to them.”
The singer/songwriter added his observations on how so much of our civilization, already overwhelmingly turning to digital platforms for music and other entertainments, became exponentially more so during the very isolating times of this current world health crisis.
“I think, until two years ago, some people might have taken it for granted, not realizing what it means to them. I'm guessing, but for me, definitely, like, it's exciting to see live music.”
Exciting to see and definitely exciting to perform, he confirmed. Sures managed to sing and play for some live dates last year, both as headliner and as backup. The memories still keep his strumming fingers and his voice box warm even during the cold snaps of late. They were magical moments as much for the audience as for him.
“You could see that it really resonated with people — that in-person experience, also for me as a performer, too. I've made a career out of more intimate-type performances, and I definitely feed off it. I'm still glowing from my concerts on Vancouver Island in September.”
Come for the music, stay for the glow when he debuts his new album on the day of its release. Sures has been holding onto The Story That Lived Here for a year or so. Needless to say, the album — his ninth — is a salve for troubled times. Starting with the uplifting and cinnamon-bun-emboldened opener End of the World, the 10-track album is the respite for the weary and world-wizened. It’s a lyrical sangria that will tantalize the tastebuds while immediately taking some of the pandemic pain away.
The album is a welcome entrée to 2022 for this and for so many other reasons.
The artist carefully considered how to present The Story … to the public, and it shows, even shows off its progressiveness a little. For starters, the 9” x 9” album is oddly sized until you consider why. While you’re considering that, you’ll probably also notice that there isn’t a disc inside.
He explained that he just couldn’t justify CD production when the market doesn’t match it. The world has gone increasingly digital for its musical consumption, hence the empty jacket. You still get the album to download digitally, all of the liner notes in a handy booklet with lyrics and photos, and — surprise — a T-shirt. Feel good music, feel warm and stylish for the threads, and feel like you’re a part of a vanguard enviro-artistic movement, to boot.
Our lyrical friend just wanted to do something a little bit different, though it will seem like a lot in some ways.
“You still get to hold something nice in your hand. In fact, because it's nine inches by nine inches, it's nicer than holding a small CD," he sales-manned. "It's also a little bit better for the environment. I went with nine by nine because there's no paper waste."
Trust him: he did his research. COVID-19, he said, left him with a lot of time to consider things thoroughly. And consider them he has.
Ben Sures will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 22. Tickets are $28 (before taxes and fees) and are available through the Arden box office at 780-459-1542 or at stalbert.ca/exp/arden/tickets-box-office.
Visit ardentheatre.com to learn how public-health measures might affect the show.