The latest album by Benjamin Mullins is a set of 12 folk songs that explore the undercurrents of today’s American experience, exploring the dichotomy of American life, through emotional and heartfelt music. In 2018, he released his first album, “Little Wings”, and then began writing new songs while traveling the world with his ukulele, resulting in the soothing acoustic release, “American Folk”.
American Folk Tracklist
The album begins with a beautifully composed, heartwarming track called Hold the Dark. The track is underscored by melodic guitar progressions and calming beats that accompany Mullins’ nostalgic lyrics and calming voice. – “The days go by, but fade away, my eyes are wide but have nothing to say. Would you trade your eyes and what they’ve seen, for youth and the memories you keep?”
Friday Night has a similar sound as the intro track with its subtle strings and airy vocals. Infectious melodies paired with gentle percussions suit the mood of the track really well. A top-notch composition.
Title track, American Folk begins with Mullin’s favorite instrument – the ukulele. An excellently recorded track where the acoustics are breath-taking. Featuring a bass and melodic strings, the track is very dynamic and engaging. Mullins’ writing can be well appreciated in this track, he is an excellent songwriter who knows how to translate emotions through his words. – “No matter where you go there you are, no matter how far you run to cover your scar, and all the things that you do will catch up to you, so just be true to yourself, that’s what I’ll do?”
Coconut Tree, initially, is reminiscent of some of the slower, Beatles tracks. Mullins sings playfully on this track that features catchy melodies and absorbing instrumental sections. – I see you, you see me, let’s get together under the coconut tree”
Track five, Kaboom, isn’t a loud banger as the title might suggest. It’s an instrumental interlude that flows right between Coconut Tree and Entropy. Let’s hear what he has in store for us next.
Entropy, the longest track of the lot, begins with emotional strings that introduce a rhythmic chord progression. A piano and a deep bass accompany Mullin’s vocals as the track progresses. A very ethereal and uplifting song that has a fascinating instrumental segment as well.
I really liked how Tides began with the sound of the ocean water crashing on the shore. Mullin’s vocals are only accompanied by a ukulele on this track – apt, considering that it’s the best beach instrument there is! An emotional song with lyrics that seem to explore unconditional love.
Track eight was written by Mullin as a goodbye song for his son Harvey. The emotive strings on Harvey’s Song add an elegant color to the mix, creating an atmosphere that’s soothing and warm. Watching birds and raindrops all day long, we can watch the birds and sing their song, we can watch the raindrops in the sky, watching days like these pass us by, bye bye.”
The Fire talks about the times where one craves the touch of a significant other. The music does the lyrics justice and is just lovely. An amazing composition that’s very well produced and excellently recorded.
Mullins changes the mood of the album slightly with Khao Lak, and sings about how he’d like to be in exotic places with a special someone. The instrumentation on this track is absolutely amazing! It even has the voice of a baby’s laughter somewhere in the middle and it sounds very playful and soothing, as most of the song so far do! – Waves of the ocean were all that I see, they carry me out now, to the Andaman Sea with me, help me.”
Track eleven, All That Glitters, has a unique composition – uncommon time signatures and interestingly processed instruments that don’t really break the ‘acoustic space but sound a bit different than the rest of the album. It has a bit of a hypnotic melody that aids the slightly haunting vibe the track has in the starting. A very captivating track where the instruments take over the vocals for once.
The final track of the album, Benjamin Sky, features melancholic lyrics and slightly woeful melodies. I think Mullins is singing about loss and the feelings of sorrow that follow. He’s captured the emotion perfectly. The production of this track is marvelous. Emotional piano melodies, gloomy strings, and a big outro section with hard-hitting drums that’s full of sentiment. An intense and captivating outro to a riveting album.
If this is the first time you’re hearing Benjamin Mullins’ work, then sit back, relax, and get ready to be amazed. With his masterful song-writing skills, and heart-warming voice, “American Folk” transports you to a place where every emotion can be felt in a matter of 40 minutes. The twelve tracks on this record showcase his versatility as an artist and his experiences in music and everyday life have helped him create his signature sound that’s very moving. Looking forward to hearing more from Mullins soon!