Ben Rector – Live From Atlanta

OK Kid Recordings

Release Date: June 16th 2023

Reviewed by: Joshua Andre

Ben Rector– Live From Atlanta (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. Old Friends
  2. Welcome To Atlanta
  3. Living My Best Life
  4. 30,000 Feet
  5. Daughter
  6. The Legend Of Buckaroo Steve
  7. Forever Like That
  8. Range Rover (Acapella)
  9. Men That Drive Me Places
  10. Heroes
  11. Steady Love
  12. White Dress
  13. Joy
  14. Sunday

In 2022, I reviewed an album from an artist that I didn’t think much of. And I actually stumbled upon the album of the year- at the time. The Joy Of Music from Ben Rector, on multiple listens, becomes more and more enjoyable; and Ben’s infectious and contagious melodies of positivity, optimism, and joy (no pun intended!), is just what we all need as a human race, especially since the chaotic Oscars and the Smith/Rock incident occurred a few days before I reviewed the album. At the time of me reviewing The Joy Of Music; I hadn’t really dived deep into Ben’s discography at all, and I only knew the song “Brand New”. But when I heard about Ben’s album; I decided to take the plunge and listen to Ben’s 13-track album of cathartic, healing, and soothing melodies. Ben’s album may be underrated; but let me tell you, it is a gem worth diving deep into, even if you don’t love pop music at all! I didn’t know what I would be getting myself into when delving into The Joy Of Music, but I’m glad I actively listened to this album… simply because it’s an epic masterpiece. Sure, the album cover can be a bit childish, with the puppet reminding me of the Muppets and Sesame Street, but the intention of being childish in this album works. As we become older, cynicism, distrust and paranoia can seep into our souls and our very beings, and Ben is encouraging us to set aside our prejudices and preconceptions for a bit, and just bask in the presence of the Holy Spirit moving and ministering to our souls. A self-profession believer in Jesus, Ben inspires us to live a joyful life through this album. We also reviewed Ben’s new single “What Makes A Man”, a collaboration with country singer Thomas Rhett, as well as his stand-alone single “Wonderful World”. But now that Ben has delivered another new project in the live album Live From Atlanta; I mean, it’s only fitting that I voice my thoughts, don’t you think?

As I mentioned in my countless other reviews of live albums, live albums in general are tricky- you’d want the band or artists in question to be authentic and include raw audio of a special, unique and magical night (or nights), yet you don’t want the recording to sound too bootlegish. So some post-production is needed. But you also don’t want the recordings to sound too similar to the studio versions, otherwise why record a live album? Thankfully, Ben exquisitely invites us into a near-flawless performance (as well as some stories behind some of his most famous songs!), as we hear the same passion, honesty and emotion previously evident in the studio versions, but also the live atmosphere and the emotions of the crowd as well. The result is song after song that I want to listen to again and again. Smash hit singles from The Joy Of Music that are present on this vibrant and inspiring track list include like “Living My Best Life”, “Daughter”, “Joy”, “Steady Love”, “Sunday” and “Heroes”, while I have new appreciation for fan favourites like “Old Friends”, “Forever Like That”, “30,000 Feet”, and “White Dress”. In particular, “Men That Drive Me Places”, is probably one of the most thought-provoking melodies I’ve heard for a long time, while “Range Rover” is a fun acapella track that is nonsensical, but a ball to listen to nonetheless.

There truly isn’t anything else that I can say about Ben Rector’s Live From Atlanta than what I have briefly touched upon. Some live albums fall flat, but this project soars, due to Ben’s unbridled joy and sense of childlike wonder permeated throughout the entire track list. Ben is an artist and a songwriter and an entertainer and a storyteller; and we are blessed to have him showcase his talents. An album that reminds us how much of a musical and song-writing genius he is (and really, now is the time where I need to go back and listen to Ben’s previous albums!); you should all listen to this live project and by extension, Ben’s previous album from start to finish, and just soak it in. And… that’s all. Listen and be amazed! What do you think of everything Ben has released this year and last year?

4 songs to listen to: Daughter, Men That Drive Me Places, Heroes, Joy

Score: 5/5

RIYL: Mat Kearney, Needtobreathe, Ben Platt, Andy Grammar, Johnnyswim, Dave Barnes, Jason Mraz

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *