Bob Dylan said this of New Orleans: “In New Orleans you could almost see other dimensions. There’s only one day at a time here, then it’s tonight and then tomorrow will be today again. Chronic melancholia hanging from the trees. You never get tired of it. After a while you start to feel like a ghost from one of the tombs, like you’re in a wax museum below crimson clouds.” And, I can’t help but feel that singer-songwriter and NOLA transplant, Ben de la Cour, could relate to this statement. De la Cour who grew up in Brooklyn lived in London, Cuba and Paris. Ben set out on a unique path as an amateur boxer and frontman for a doom-metal band before leaving the aggression behind to become a melancholic singer-songwriter.
To The River Rise is Ben’s second solo record. This eleven song offering is less heavy than his last album, but that really isn’t saying a lot because To The River Rise is just as dark and haunting. Understated throughout the album, Ben’s deep baritone is the centerpiece throughout showcasing his incredible songwriting abilities as well as his strong guitar-playing skills. Songs like “I Went Down to Dido”, “To The River Rise”, “Memorial Day”, and “Drowning In the Wishing Well” are the real testaments to the caliber of artistry this album possesses, and this without a doubt will stand the test of time.
New Orleans is place where the dead never really seem to die. Where cemeteries are above ground and referred to as “cities of the dead”, I can’t help but hear and see the ghost of Townes while listening to Ben. And, hence, making “I Went Down to Dido”, Ben’s tribute to the legendary songwriter my favorite song on the album. Townes’ spirit has touched Ben and left an eerie imprint on some of the songs on To The River Rise.
“I Went Down To Dido”