Roots formed in old standards, a juvenile heart, and his mother’s Ray Charles albums, Austin’s Ben Mallott uses his grainy timbre to remove the punctuation between singer and songwriter.
For his first solo release, Look Good, Feel Good, Mallott’s songs range from sentimental to sad to what he calls “unpredictably genuine”. A songwriter who admits his journeys have taken him from window seats to bathroom floors, he sticks to what works and in turn churns out his distinctive brand of Americana confession.
“I'm strange about where and when I write,” Mallott explains. “I try not to move my residence too often, because it usually takes a couple of months for me to find the place in the house that sounds and feels right. Where I live now, I stand about six inches from the back door and sing into it. It didn't take me long to have a glass door installed.”
Planting himself at Congress House Studio, a converted house on a bit of land in South Austin, Mallott was able to let the laid-back setting of a non-traditional recording space ease him into creating his music. “Our producer, Mark Hallman, and I hit it off pretty well. He owns the studio, so the arrangement unfolded somewhat naturally. Instead of taking me on a grand tour and trying to impress me, he just kind of said ‘This is it. Any questions?’ It helps to work with people who get my jokes, or at least pretend to.”
Jokes aside, Mallott buried himself in a year of thought, mistakes and epiphany recording Look Good, Feel Good, a process that, for the artist, lays more in the work than the spoils of victory.
“For me,” he explains, “the process was what I needed to validate my hopes. I was dragging my dreams around by the collar for a long time, trying to figure out how to stand them up on their feet and show them to someone the way I saw them. You can measure my work in a lot of ways, but the level of satisfaction that I have about this project is deeply fulfilling.”
Set for release on December 10, 2008, Look Good, Feel Good introduces Ben Mallott’s unique sound and perspective. Personal as they are, Mallott confesses that his songs don't distinguish between the literal and metaphorical. A blend of Americana heart and soul, each are shrouded in a little mystery to both the listener and the creator.“I don’t know what they mean to me. I think if I really ever figured that out, I’d have to stop writing. I love the art of songwriting. I love the struggle involved. The songs are just windows. Some let in more light than others.”