It was a snowy Sunday lunch time and despite the weather Ben Jordan still managed to draw people away from their warm fires and roast dinners to see his 2 hour performance. Ben seemed excited to be playing for us and on occasions he would look down to his play list letting out a little cheer once he had seen what his next song would be. I asked Ben why the songs on his playlist seem to be a surprise to him?
"I have a huge catalogue of songs to choose from, I usually scribble a playlist very quickly whilst smoking a cigarette before each show. By the time I'm on stage I have forgotten what I wrote down only moments ago. Also I just get excited to be playing I absolutely love it".
However Ben does not stick strictly to his playlist, he instead uses it as a safety net and often chooses songs spontaneously. This was proven when Ben placed his note book on his lap to remind himself of the lyrics to a song he had written only the night before. I asked Ben what drives him to perform such a new song to an audience?
"I'm just testing myself and the song, it's the only way to know if a song is any good. Songs are like children or baby birds you've got to shove them out of the nest and see if they can fly. So I'm sort of a cruel parent to my songs I like to get them out there and play them as soon as I can".
Between songs Ben would often give us an insight into where he was when he wrote a song or how he developed the structure of the song. But he didn't give any information about the meaning of his songs.
"I try not to define songs for people because I think it limits their ability to put themselves into the song. If I tell people what a song is about it will make it harder for them to make it personal. If you leave a song open to interpretation people will find all sorts of meanings that they can apply to their own lives".
This being said does not mean that Ben's songs are a collection of empty words. It is very obvious that he pours all of his experiences and emotions into each song. After his song 'Freedom in the Iron' we witnessed Ben wipe a tear from his check as he jokes "It's not a good performance unless you cry during at least one song". Ben explained to me afterwards why this song provoked such emotion.
"You know how people sometimes say 'if I could do it all over again but knowing what I know now'". "Well I feel kind of like that with my life. Living in the states was my time to fumble around, fuck up and become a good person. Now I have moved to England I have literally started my life again. I have met someone while living in the UK and she means the world to me. When my songs relate to these moment or to her I become overwhelmed. They're good happy tears not sad".
Because Ben puts so much emotion into his songs I thought he would consider himself to be predominantly a song writer. However his guitar playing is exceptional and his vocal has a smooth tone which is full of wisdom. So I asked Ben how he thinks of himself?
"I would say more of a musician, singing and song writing came to me really late. I started off as a drummer I also played piano for many years then I started playing Jazz guitar. I played in bands as the lead guitarist and always wanted to be the best side man. I wanted to be that guitarist the every body could rely on to play any style of music. Then I stared my own band whilst living in Colorado and found myself having to write songs".