Local Music Monday: Ben Sollee

Aug 18, 2014

On this week’s Local Music Monday, WUKY’s DeBraun Thomas features an internationally acclaimed artist with deep Kentucky roots.

Ben Sollee plays WUKY's Phoenix Fridays August 22nd.
Credit photo provided

Ben Sollee is a Lexington native who grew up has been around musical his whole life. A graduate of Lexington’s School for the Creative and Performing Arts, Sollee first started playing around town in different coffee shops. Sollee it wasn’t until he joined the house band on Woodsongs that he truly got to get his feet wet.

“So I played as part of the stage band for that for some 200 broadcasts, sat on the banks of the river, the musical river that is and watched and listened to folks like Odetta and Roger Mcguinn, and Chris Thile and Ralph Stanley and all these amazing artists come through and tell their stories and perform their songs and I think there could have been no better education or school for me.”

As a cellist, Sollee’s music stands out as he blends soul and folk on a traditionally classical instrument. While using the cello in a way that can be seen as unconventional, Sollee says he’s using it as a gimmick or to stand out, but that he’s using the cello because it fuels his passions.

“There’s been cellists along the path that have done it, but so far there haven’t been any that necessarily went out and made a career as a singing folk cellist and I think that’s one of the things I enjoy about it, but I don’t do it because it’s not exploited, I don’t do it because it’s fertile ground cause I don’t know if it is, I do it just because I find it really accessible and inspiring to use the cello.”

Ben Sollee will be performing on Friday August 22nd along with Coralee & The Townies and Josh Nolan at WUKY’s Phoenix Friday downtown at Phoenix Park.