This story is featured in CityBeat's April 19 print edition.
Making a return trip after a sold out performance in 2017, Ben Folds performs with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, conducted by Lucas Waldin at historic Music Hall, on April 25.
Ben Folds is arguably one of the most compelling voices of his generation, with his piano-driven anthems and ballads filled with playful effervescence often juxtaposed with sarcasm, irony and sometimes heavy (or even heartbreaking) themes.
He found success with his group Ben Folds Five and the band’s breakthrough record in 1997, Whatever and Ever Amen. The album featured the bouncy and rollicking “Battle of Who Could Care Less”, “Kate” and the band’s biggest hit, “Brick,” a tale of two young lovers put in a life changing situation with a simultaneously melancholic and anthemic chorus.
Ben Folds Five released their third studio album, The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, to critical praise in 1999 before Folds went solo with Rockin’ the Suburbs in 2001 and a string of well received releases and collaborations punctuated by a Ben Folds Five reunion record, The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind, in 2012.
Much like a lot of his songwriting, Folds has made some playful and adventurous moves throughout his career, even contributing songs to blockbuster movies like Hoodwinked, Over the Hedge and Handsome. Most recently, Folds contributed the Emmy-nominated title song for 2022’s Peanuts special “It’s the Small Things, Charlie Brown.”
In recent years, Folds has performed with orchestras in programs across the world and served as artistic advisor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. A result of some of these collaborations is the dreamy and ambitious pop of Folds’ 2015 album, So There, made with New York chamber orchestra yMusic and featuring a piano concerto performed with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.
Folds recently announced his latest album, What Matters Most, will be released June 2.
Ben Folds plays Music Hall at 7:30 p.m. April 25. Info: cincinnatisymphony.org.
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