Toledo-based Americana/Folk artist Ben Stalets recently talked to ai love music over email about his inspirations, his musical journey, and the release of the album Everybody’s Laughing. Ben found influences from the 60s and 70s musical influences such as John Prine, Leonard Cohen, Warren Zevon, Todd Snider, Willie Nelson, and even Prince. While creating his album. It is also an album where the artist expresses worldly and personal thorns in his sides. “Thorns of love, acceptance, and participation are sometimes seen as sticky and bloody but can always be worked out through communication.”
Find out below why Ben gave the album the theme of “Collective suffering allows us to collectively suffer less”. Also, check out what was the production like. While reading, listen to Ben’s newest album and let me know what you think in the comments!
First of all, please introduce yourself!
I’m Ben Stalets, a sweet and loving Leo, a singer-songwriter, and a local celebrity.
How did you get into music? What has that journey been like?
I got into music about 12 years ago when I saw Townes Van Zandt playing Waitin’ Round To Die and I thought that I’d rather play music instead of waiting around to die.
My Journey so far has had a lot of highs and lows. But its music so lows are just annoying and stressful, it’s not like real life. It’s so much better. I’ve opened shows that were sold out, and I’ve played to completely empty rooms. I don’t think I’d be doing it if I didn’t love to gamble.
What musical genres and/or artists influence you?
That changes week to week. Right now I’m listening to a lot of bluegrass. So, Tony Rice and Norman Blake are two people I’ve listened to more than my fair share of. I like Allison Russel’s new album so much. Might be the best one of the year. Todd Snider is my favorite songwriter. I’ve been listening to Marvin Gaye here and there. Yeah, it’s all over the place I think.
How has 2021 been for you?
2021 has been great. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve done a lot. There’s a lot of shit that my loved ones and I have gone through but I feel like with the release of this album and having gotten a vaccine, along with my family’s health, I’m pretty grateful. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Let’s talk about your recent release, the album Everybody’s Laughing. Is there a central theme to it?
There’s definitely a theme, but I didn’t write it as a concept album. It was very organic. The theme is, we’re all suffering, and in suffering, we are not alone. Maybe that’ll help some people feel a little better. Sometimes it helps me.
What melodies, keywords, and/or themes inspired you to write this album?
I was really inspired to write an album that sounds like me. I wanted my words to not simply be “my words” but to sound like something I’d say in everyday life. My humor, my sorrow, my girlfriend, my friends. It’s all in there.]
What was the production like?
Bunky (Hunt, Whistlepig) was a pleasure to work with. He really knew how to reign me in when I was trying to throw too much shit at the wall. He has an ear for a classic production style, as well. Which is really helpful when you’re floating out in the ether.
You sent me a song entitled “Chicken Flew the Coop”. What is that about? What inspired you to write it? And will you release it?
That song is actually on my new album, Everybody’s Laughing. It’s the second song. It’s the only song on the album that isn’t autobiographical. Assuming the role of a preacher on this album sort of inspired me to write about a less than favorable experience in the church. I didn’t have to try that hard to imagine.
What do you want listeners to listen for in your music?
The words, the melodies. It’s all cohesive and it’s me for better and worse!
Tell us what you have planned for 2022.
2022 I hope to have a booking agent and tour. I hope a lot more people are vaccinated and different strains aren’t as much of a problem and touring seems safe. There’s a lot of people I want to meet and play music for.
Make sure to check out Ben Stalets at the following: