by Peter Brizick
When you look at your young child, you wonder who they really are and what they will become. You question what positive traits they inherited and whether they will avoid your life’s pitfalls while probably succumbing to their own. You encourage and work to protect. You share in the ups and downs. You wonder what will be.
Philadelphia is a parent – always has been; dating back to the founding of our nation. We boast founding fathers, founding mothers, and it should not be forgotten that there were founding youths along the way who were stronger and more mature than their years would typically require.
Today, Philadelphia has a musical son in Ben Kessler. He is mature, talented, casual yet serious, comfortable in his own skin, and taking-on the music industry one day at a time – which is probably the only way to do it.
I first experienced Kessler’s talent at World Café Live in Philadelphia a few weeks ago when he opened for UK’s Lewis Watson. The songs were well-composed, guitar-playing strong, and the vocals refined with a youthful quality. He helped fill the venue to capacity that night and endeared himself to Watson’s fans in a way that led to the opportunity to headline at WCL, which will occur on January 11, 2015. This time, Kessler will be accompanied by a full band – recreating the material that can be found on his debut EP, So It Goes.
When I ask Kessler about his amazing 2014 he states, “it seemed kind of slow but, in hindsight, it was actually pretty fast. After a while, you don’t even realize how fast things are moving.” In reality, Kessler performed at least sixty times in 2014 with much of that activity happening toward the later part of the year as momentum was built. His current schedule for 2015 does not necessarily reflect that level of activity, but shares that there is a method. “I’m trying to plan performances out strategically so that it all makes sense from a business perspective. I don’t want to be over-exposed,” he says.
As for new material and future releases, Kessler says, “The EP is still relatively new and I don’t want to take way from the material that was meant to introduce me to the scene. Something could come later this year or early next year depending on how things go.” He already has plenty of new material, but wants to allow each release to have its time to project and reach his audience as it is and is still becoming.
You also need to keep in mind that Kessler has yet to graduate from high school and enroll in college, which he intends to do. “I love Philly, it’s my home and has been sort of an incubator for me, musically, but I will probably go somewhere else for college. But it will have a music scene of its own,” Kessler assures.
Tickets are still available to see Kessler with his full band on Sunday night at World Cafe Life. As his hometown, we need to support him, wish him well, welcome him back when that time comes, and continue to be a positive source of inspiration as he progresses through the mine-field of the industry.