British musician Ben Maggs had almost given up on a performance career as he was faced with a four-year hiatus from his band, Solace. He had settled down, got a job, put down his guitar and thought his days of being a musician were over. But it was the tragic death of a close friend that showed the artist his true path was to continue with his music, so in 2009 he began to write and within 18 months he had quit his job to pursue his dream professionally.
The result is his debut album, COME AS YOU ARE, which draws on experiences travelling the UK, inspired by wild nature, human nature and the nature of love.‚ This influence is clear on The Traveller’s Song, a track which develops with tender acoustic guitar, set to Maggs’ easy going vocals. It’s a song that almost has a Mumford & Sons’ quality as it reaches a chorus full of fast violin, accordion and domra. His voice is utterly unique and original and, with thoughtful lyrics throughout the album, it will touch a nerve with many listeners. Matched with the talent of The Budapest Cafe Orchestra it is a charming combination.
Haunting, The Storm is a mesmerising song, which builds to a hypnotic fast and punchy track, and Hearts is a dizzy tale of finding love. With a hint of acoustic, folk, R&B and singer/songwriter influences, it’s an album that’s hard to define, but stands on its own with honest tracks and a skilled band. The album concludes with Winter Moon, an acoustic track that displays Maggs’ song-writing style and gives the listener a glimpse at his passion for his music. As he sings about setting off on a journey and finding his way back home, one could almost liken the tale to Maggs finding his own way back to his love of music. ‘I feel I’m homeward bound. I feel I’m home and that’s where I belong.’ Megan Gnad