First Listen: Ben Ballinger

Teasing his Good Horse Records debut with ‘Confessions in Flannel’

First Listen: Ben Ballinger

Last night, weary and worn from a weekend of holiday parties and late-night musical excursions, I pried myself off the sofa to catch Ben Ballinger performing at Holy Mountain. Playing solo and still wearing work boots, presumably from his day job as a freelance handyman, the Oregon native had the small crowd hanging on his every introspective line.

Ballinger’s gifts as a lyricist trump his talents as a guitarist and vocalist. All lend to his indie bard allure. His ability to hit profound notions shines on the inquisitive folksong “Confessions in Flannel,” on which he interrogates religious leaders, politicians, and fortune tellers until they admit they’re just “making it up as they go.”

In the tricky final verse, Ballinger brings his own songwriting into question. When a fan accuses him of being a charlatan, the songwriter admits that he’s just making it up as he goes also.

Ballinger’s new 10-song offering, The State I’m In, serves as the inaugural release for Good Horse Records, a vinyl imprint from White Horse co-owner Denis O’Donnell, producer Ivan Evangelista, and engineer Daniel McNeill. The local label takes a classic approach to record production, using an all-analog process and allowing minimal overdubs. The LP arrives digitally July 12 and on vinyl August 15.

On Friday, Ballinger hits Mohawk with fellow Good Horse ambassadors Mrs. Glass and Carson McHone as they kickoff a tour of the upper Midwest.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Ben Ballinger
SXSW Music: Ben Ballinger
SXSW Music: Ben Ballinger
Disheveled local proves in-control lyrically

Doug Freeman, March 16, 2016

More by Kevin Curtin
Musician Hurt in Panhandler Attack Outside Show
Musician Hurt in Panhandler Attack Outside Show
Assault highlights worsening criminality in the live music district

Nov. 12, 2018

BMI to Open Austin Office
BMI to Open Austin Office
Performance rights organization landing locally in 2019

Nov. 8, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Ben Ballinger, White Horse, Good Horse Records, Denis O’Donnell, Ivan Evangelista, Daniel McNeill, Mrs. Glass, Carson McHone, Holy Mountain, Mohawk

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle