Besides putting out solo albums (and, before that, records with his trio, Ben Folds Five), Ben Folds gets involved in all sorts of interesting and unusual collaborations. He has played with symphony orchestras around the world, judged a cappella contests and produced the acclaimed if underappreciated 2004 album Has Been for actor William Shatner.
Now the American singer-songwriter-pianist has released Lonely Avenue, an album of songs with lyrics by the British novelist/screenwriter/essayist Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, Juliet, Naked), whose favorite subject has been music. (The band photos on the album jacket were taken by Cincinnati photographer Michael Wilson.)
The Lonely Avenue project was hatched over dinner last year between Folds and Hornby. The writer then began sending lyrics to Folds via e-mail. Folds worked on melodies and, in the studio, collaborated with Paul Buckmaster (who has worked with The Rolling Stones, Elton John, David Bowie and many other legends) on the sumptuously expansive string arrangements. In addition to piano, Folds plays Moog on several tunes.
Ben Folds plays Bogart's Wednesday with Lady Danville. Go here to read Steven Rosen's full Sound Advice.