2008 Best Music Poll Winners

Acoustic/Singer-Songwriter Act

Ben Pilgrim

“Recording is an art, and I want to learn more about this craft and keep pushing it further,” local folkster and Best Acoustic Singer/Songwriter winner Ben Pilgrim humbly declared while chatting up The Further Adventures of Ben Pilgrim (75 or Less Records), an impressive debut disc released last October.

A veteran of the local music scene (playing in the Mister Rogers Project and the Setbacks as a teen), Pilgrim decided to go the solo route and work the coffeehouse circuit and has since formed his Free Union Band, featuring the angelic harmonies of Mary Bee and banjo maestro Blind Benny Tilchen. The Further Adventures EP opens with “Stranger On the Line,” a toe-tapping gem that gradually gathers some serious steam. Pilgrim and Bee are a seamless fit vocally, with “Threadbare Broken Blues” bringing their work to the forefront, while “Rhythm of the Rain” addresses the war and family heartache it has produced. The closing “Bar Blues no1” would do Eric Bachmann proud with the plaintive, bottle-tipping bravado lines, “I don’t like sittin’ at the bar, wondering who you are” and “I wanna go somewhere no one knows/ I’d be so much better on my own” before a solemn harmonica chimes in. The lonesome wanderer vibe becomes increasingly endearing and engaging.

The Smith Hill denizen and Seekonk High School alum says AS220 “feels like home” and will have his Free Union Band in tow for a number of upcoming shows from New Hampshire to Connecticut, working out new material for a full-length release scheduled for late summer. Stop by Ben Pilgrim’s MySpace page for all the info.

— Chris Conti

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