Ben Salter House Concert

18 September 2017, Sarah Jayne Paddick and John Parrant, Haumoana

A man walks in to a bar…and offers to make Ben a guitar.

A man walks into a bar…and offers Ben three weeks in a top studio to record his third solo album.

I’ll walk into a bar and suggest to Ben that he might like to be my grandson. He took up the other two offers so I think I might be in. The Ben Salter effect.

Daylight is stretching and Saturday was designated whanau garden day. Beds were prepared, plants planted, Rogan Josh, damper and butter chicken cooked in the camp oven. Children played, adults chatted and the day slipped by without a second glance. 6 pm came as a shock. Hands up who wanted to go out and listen to someone they had never heard of before. Hands up who wanted to stay at home and watch the telly. Me.  But we were committed, a promise is a promise and on the plus side we did know the opening act, the wonderful Collin Littlewood and Eric de Vries , the hosts are friends of 40 years standing and Sarah’s suppers are renowned.

The room was comfortably full, Collin proved the acoustics were excellent and at last it was time for the man of the hour. With head down Ben made small noises on the guitar, pushed looper pedals and launched into a song. The small noises became a rich resounding warmth, the mastery of which had my attention at the first ringing note and then the voice, the phrasing, the breath, the words. Oh Ben. Two songs melted by and then he said hello.

Australian Ben, with clever use of looper and voice effects, filled the room with songs from either his solo albums or songs he had penned for his bands. The songs were quirky, clever, revealing. I loved each one. The stories and in between banter made him feel like an old friend and by nights end there was a room full of new and dedicated fans.

Next time you’re back Ben come and play at our house. You’re family after all.

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