Louisiana-based Americana band Ben Labat & The Happy Devil released their fourth full-length album, Homeward, today, Friday, August 18. The album is available for purchase on all major digital retail stores including Amazon and iTunes, and is streaming on SoundCloud and Spotify.
“It’s been a long road filled with good and bad, success and failure, falling down and getting up,” Ben Labat says of the winding path that’s led to Homeward.
Marking the collective’s first new music since 2014’s The Revival, Homeward represents a distinct and conscious embrace of Ben Labat’s folk and Americana roots. These 10 tracks exemplify his vivid lyricism and impressive song craft, delicately weaving together harmonica, ukulele, piano, and acoustic guitar to create a rustic sonic palette. Over this entrancing backdrop, he carries undeniable hooks and lyrical musings that are as ponderous as they are powerful.
“This is probably the most personal and mature collection of songs we’ve created so far,” states Labat. That assessment is confirmed by the vivid lyrical insight and catchy melodic craftsmanship of such memorable new songs as “The Wilderness,” first single “Set It On Fire,” which premiered on AXS.com, “Darkness,” “Nothing But the Past to Lose,” and the poignant title track, which was featured in Elmore Magazine.
Homeward was written and produced by Ben Labat, mixed by Brett Grossman and Rob Smith, and features his longtime bandmates Jerry Martin (guitar) and David Guidry (bass) and recent addition Travis Lovell (drums), along with an assortment of talented guest players, including keyboardist Travis Thibodaux, who is also a touring member of Journey; female vocalist Ansley Rimmer, a member of the band Hydrogen Child, which also includes former members of Labat’s first band, The Terms; and noted New Orleans blues guitarist Colin Lake.
Louisiana born and bred Ben Labat’s musical journey started when he received his first national exposure after joining the Baton Rouge-based combo The Terms, which built a committed nationwide fan base through diligent roadwork. The Terms’ 2006 indie album Small Town Computer Crash generated considerable excitement, with the band performing on national TV and placing at #11 in Billboard’s Heatseekers chart, before a car accident on the way to a gig abruptly ended their career. Labat moved to New York to explore and fulfill his label deal, but he eventually returned to Louisiana, where he got married and started a family. Tragedy struck again in 2009, when Greg Ladanyi, the legendary Grammy-winning producer/engineer who’d served as Ben’s manager, producer, label head and mentor, died in a freak on-stage accident in Greece. Labat eventually put the sadness behind him and focused on moving forward musically, launching Ben Labat & the Happy Devil as his creative outlet.
The new band released three acclaimed albums, A Face for Radio, Soapbox Anthems, and The Revival, between 2010 and 2014. All three sets showcased Labat’s rapidly maturing songwriting and increasingly expansive musical vision, while the band earned a reputation as a first-rate live act whose upbeat, uplifting shows offered a potent mix of powerful originals and artfully rendered cover material.
He has performed in legendary venues everywhere from New York and Los Angeles to Nashville and New Orleans. Moreover, his songs have sound-tracked key moments in The Ghost Whisperer, The Real World, Jersey Shore, the Kevin Spacey-produced film Mini’s First Time, and Middle of Nowhere starring Susan Sarandon.
Labat has quietly become one of Americana’s most striking voices. Now, Homeward sees him return to the sounds that always inspired him, and kicks off his brightest musical chapter yet.
Homeward Track Listing:
1. The Wilderness
2. Set It On Fire
3. The Last Place on Earth
6. Nothing But the Past to Lose
8. No One Can Keep the Change
10. Reset Button
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