February 21, 2013 by Jay Minkin
When I’m not toiling away at my day job or writing about singer/songwriters with my evening assignments, I’m usually hiking the trails of the beautiful Cuyahoga Valley throughout all four season. So there is a deep appreciation of the music by Ben Schneider that strikes a chord to this listener. Nature and the outdoors are a focal energy source for his compositions that have become the foundation of a band called Lord Huron. Their debut record Lonesome Dreams came out this past October after two years of working the music festival circuit on the indie label IAMSOUND Records. But let’s go behind the music and start at the beginning ….
Ben Schneider grew up in Michigan and first learned to play guitar around the beach campfires of Lake Huron. He later found a place in the Okemos high school orchestra playing upright bass, fiddle, and other acoustic and electric instruments. After studying art in college, Schneider spent time in France and New York before settling in Los Angeles around 2005. Music continued to be an ever-present pastime along with his visual arts work and both were channeled by his passion for outdoor explorations, landscape, and water. In May of 2010, Schneider returned to the great lake for inspiration on music and artwork he had developed with no clear picture what quite to do with. Three songs were recorded that became the roots of Lord Huron which was formed into a band just months later in August. Although Schneider played all the instruments on the initial two Ep’s titled Into The Sun and Mighty, he enlisted fellow high school classmate Mark Barry (percussion) and childhood friend Tom Renaud (guitar) to move to Los Angeles and form the live touring band. Another Michigan lad, Miguel Briseño (bass) was added to round out the line-up. After extensive festival bus trips and building a faithful audience, the band was signed at the beginning of 2012.
The band kicks off the record’s ten tracks with “End Of The Earth” in which the author follows his path alone as the chorus exclaims “To the ends of the earth would you follow me? There’s a world that was meant for our eyes to see To the ends of the earth would you follow me? If you won’t I must say my goodbyes to thee” that will hook you early on. Songs like “Time To Run”, “I Will Be Back One Day”, “The Man Who Lives Forever”, “She Lit A Fire” and the title track are catchy tunes that will have you transcend into their weaving melodic journey. The acoustic ballad “The Ghost On The Shore” is deeply rooted as a sailor’s lament heard around a starry night campfire. Initially, there will be comparisons to Fleet Foxes and Father John Misty with the textures and layers of instruments and harmonies, but the more you spin the album, the more you’ll find uniqueness in the songwriting of Lord Huron. Additional players and vocalists on the album include Brett Farkas (guitar), Eric Byers (cello), Savannah Jo Lack (strings), Sacha Jowise, Kiko Schneider as well as acclaimed engineers on the project Ben Tolliday (multi-instrumentalist) and Rick Parker (guitar).
So as the initial list of bands for summer tours and festivals gets released, keep your eye on Lord Huron. They just might be the highlight of your road trip.