Monday, March 2, 2015

Ben Hope and the Uptown Outfit -- Ragged and Rowdy

Harlem might be an unlikely places for country music but Ben Hope embraces the incongruity with his Uptown Outfit. Hope is renowned for playing crooners like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and Buddy Holly on Broadway. Hope is now turning his attention to the bar stage and brings his theatricality to his music. Whether it's the dirt-kickin' party song "Harlem Rag" or the sorrowful "Lonely A Fool," Hope's acting skills invite you to feel these songs and take them on as a part of your own story.

Hope's got a keen ear for turns of phrases and storytelling. For an alt-country blog, I generally don't cover country. But Hope's wit and honesty pushed this album to the top of my queue. His time playing the greats of country music clearly was not wasted -- Hope is fresh and authentic, and given time someone else will be up on stage playing a younger version of him.

Ben Hope -- Official, Facebook, Stream on Country Weekly

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