"Thank God for thick hedges" Jim Pennethorne-Hughes
Ben Gunstone was born in Wessex. His songs are full
of the emotions, images and words that frame our lives.
Inspired by the countryside of south-west England
and the cities of Europe, Ben’s songs convey
contrasting states of being, movement, time:
"Hearts are broken on the platforms of Paddington
As the night train heaves under carbon bleached canopy"
In terms of artistic influences, Ben’s are
not always easy to pinpoint. He cites Bob Dylan and
Leonard Cohen as favourites, Kraftwerk, Talk Talk
and the jazz trumpeter Chet Baker. Recently, Ben has
been described as "Nick Drake for the twenty-first
"Chewing stinging nettles in a Dorset blush
My mind’s a rush
Everything I want is made of you"
Ben released a single, "Goodnight England",
at the age of eighteen. Since then he has completed
a clutch of EPs and two albums: "Merchant Venturer"
and "Songs from the Corner of a Room". Ben
has co-written a dozen or so songs with internationally
acclaimed songwriter Alain Whyte. This collaboration
culminated with the EP "When I Drink I Love You
More", released in 1998. In the mid 1990s Ben
worked as a technician for Blur, travelling extensively
throughout Europe. In September 2002 Ben recorded
and released a song for and about his beloved football
club Bristol Rovers. The song "Tote End Boys"
is a hit amongst supporters of the team. Five hundred
copies were pressed and sold.
Since the release of his first solo album Ben has
played live consistently with a range of musicians,
including Charlie Jones and Phil Andrews of Page and
Plant fame. The live set-up changes to fit the gig:
Ben sometimes plays solo acoustic sets or performs
with a five-piece band.
In 2004 Ben will once again play the prestigious
Village Pump festival in the rolling Wiltshire countryside,
maybe Glastonbury, maybe WOMAD, maybe. He will record
his third album and no doubt head out on the chalk
tracks and motorways of Europe to sing those Wessex
"In the curves of this plain are voices,
shadow and echo
The grasses sway like sketches
The thunder’s booming drum
A creaking hillside barn
Its skin of iron tapped by the storm
The higher the hill, the nearer the stars…"