Ben FoldsÂ will release his new albumÂ ‘What Matters Most’ onÂ June 2Â viaÂ New West Records.Â The 10-song set wasÂ co-produced by FoldsÂ andÂ Joe Pisapia (K.D. Lang, Guster)Â in East Nashville, TN and features guest appearances byÂ dodie, Tall Heights,Â andÂ Ruby Amanfu. ‘What Matters Most’Â is Foldsâ€™ first studio album since his chart-topping collaboration in 2015 with the string ensemble yMusic.
The masterful collection is a bold, timely, cinematic work. It is one that examines the tragic and the absurd in equal measures as it reckons with hope and despair, gratitude and loss, identity and perspective. The songs are bittersweet, hilarious at times, yet often laced with a quiet sense of longing and dread. Taken as a whole, the result is an undeniably joyful album that refuses to succumb to the weight of the world around it, an ecstatic reminder of all the beauty and promise hiding in plain sight for anyone willing (and present enough) to recognize their moments as they arrive.
Folds says, â€œThereâ€™s a lifetime of craft and experience all focused into this one record. Sonically, lyrically, emotionally, I donâ€™t think itâ€™s an album I could have made at any other point in my career.â€
Today Folds shares the first new music from ‘What Matters Most’Â with the album highlight Winslow Gardens, an off-kilter pop song about losing track of the passing time while isolating with a loved one.
â€œI come from the vinyl era, and this perhaps more than any record Iâ€™ve made is a trueÂ album,â€ says Folds. â€œThereâ€™s a very specific sequence and arc to each side, all building up to this almost surreal positive finale, and that structure was really important to me.â€ He adds, â€œMore than anything, I wanted to make an album that was generous, that was useful,â€ says Folds. â€œI want you to finish this record with something you didnâ€™t have when you started.â€
Ben Folds also announced an initial round of new tour dates in support of ‘What Matters Most’ with shows across the US, the UK – including a concert at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London – and throughout Europe.Â Please see announced datesÂ HERE. Additional shows are expected to be announced soon.
Born and raised in North Carolina, Folds first rose to fame in the mid-â€™90s with Ben Folds Five, whose acerbic, genre-bending take on piano pop helped define an entire era of alternative rock. After scoring multiple hit singles and a gold record with the band, Folds launched his solo career in 2001, releasing a series of similarly acclaimed albums that would firmly establish him as one of the most ambitious and versatile songwriters of his generation. In 2010, Folds teamed up with celebrated author Nick Hornby on a collaborative record titledÂ ‘Lonely Avenue’. In 2014, he composed and performed his first piano concerto for the Nashville Symphony & Nashville Ballet. In 2017, he became the artistic advisor to the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, where he began curating a series of performances marrying contemporary artists with symphonic orchestration. In 2019, he released hisÂ New York TimesÂ best-selling memoir,Â A Dream About Lightning Bugs; and in 2021, he launched theÂ Lightning BugsÂ podcast, an interview series on creativity and process with guests as diverse as Jon Batiste, Sara Bareilles, and Rainn Wilson, and his close friend Bob Saget. As if that wasnâ€™t enough to keep him busy, Folds also revealed himself to be a prolific photographer with gallery shows in the US and Europe, appeared onscreen in films and television (most recently playing himself in three episodes of the hit Amazon Prime seriesÂ The Wilds), composed music for a 25-minute stage adaptation of Mo Willemâ€™sÂ Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs (which premiered at the Kennedy Center and was featured on PBS), and serves on the boards of the Arts Action Fund, the Nashville Symphony and Planet Word, a new immersive museum in Washington, DC, dedicated to celebrating the power of language. Last year, Folds was nominated for an Emmy for his composition and performance of the theme song to the Apple TV specialÂ Itâ€™s the Small Things, Charlie Brown.
â€œIt can be difficult jumping back and forth from one discipline to another,â€ says Folds, â€œbut you learn so much from moving between worlds and collaborating with so many different kinds of artists. I performed some of the songs on this record with the National Symphony Orchestra before I finished recording them for the album, and that context gave me so much insight into how I wanted to handle them in the studio.â€
Ben Foldsâ€™Â ‘What Matters Most’ will be available across digital platforms, compact disc, and standard black vinyl. A very limited to 200 Metallic Gold Colour Vinyl Edition autographed by Folds and featuring a flexi disc with an exclusive bonus track (a cover of the Psychedelic Fursâ€™ The Ghost in You) will be available via Rough Trade. A limited Seaglass Blue colour vinyl edition autographed by Folds will be available at independent retailers and is also available for pre-orderÂ NOWÂ viaÂ NEW WEST RECORDS.
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With thanks to Thrillhill Music