Thursday, February 5, 2009

Benjy Ferree

Come Back To The Five And Dime, Bobby Dee Bobby Dee, the second full-length album from Benjy Ferree, is a musical eulogy to the forgotten child star, Bobby Driscoll. He portrayed Peter Pan in the 1953 Disney feature of the same name, then faced the reality of growing up in a world without Neverland. Once Disney’s golden boy of cinema, Driscoll was fired from Disney after the making of Peter Pan for the unforgivable crime of hitting puberty and developing acne. No longer cute and profitable, he struggled to find work and fell into a life-long battle with drugs until, ultimately, dying homeless and broke in a Manhattan, tenement in 1968 at the age of 31. With police unable to identify his body, the Academy Award winner ended up in an unmarked pauper’s grave on New York’s Hart Island.

Driscoll was a natural subject for Ferree as Peter Pan wasn’t just an entertaining fictional character during Ferree’s youth–he was an obsession. As a child, Ferree spent hours imitating the mischievous, magical child adventurer. His eventual discovery of Driscoll’s sad fate, led to this album–an ode not just to his childhood hero, but to anyone who’s gotten the short end of the stick in life–with Driscoll renewing his role as the leader of life’s ignored Lost Boys. Musically, Ferree lets his distinctive blend of rock and roll and Americana across new borders and genres. Drawing as much from the country meandering of Jimmie Rodgers and the passionate blues pounding of Son House as he does from the vocal hysterics of Freddie Mercury and the balladry of Nick Cave, Ferree crafts a sound that is difficult to fit into any one category, but upon listening is as gratifying as it is unique.

Produced by Ferree himself, engineered by Mark Nevers and mixed by Brendan Canty, Come Back To The Five And Dime, Bobby Dee Bobby Dee displays Ferree’s evolution as not only a masterful songwriter and arranger, but more importantly, as one of today’s most intriguing and imaginative voices.

Fear”–the album's first single–showcases how Ferree's sharp, melodic tenor can hold together a great song. Synthesizers, pianos, and background vocals drop in and out throughout, springing up to complement his crooning when necessary, but knowing when to let his voice take its appropriate spot on center stage. The result is a sweeping, harmonious ballad that showcases the leap Ferree's music has taken while still staying true to his roots.

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