Ben Sollee is an American cellist, singer-songwriter, and composer known for his innovative playing style, genre-bending songwriting, electrifying performances, political activism, and wide appeal. His music incorporates banjo, guitar, and mandolin along with percussion and unusual cello techniques to create a sound that defies categories. His songs are a virtuosic mix of folk, bluegrass, jazz, and R&B.
Early on, Sollee toured the world with Abigail Washburn’s Sparrow Quartet, Grammy nominee Casey Driessen, and multi-Grammy winner Bela Fleck. Sollee’s music drew the attention of My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James, who produced his second full-length album. In the few years since, Sollee has garnered a rabid following of listeners devoted to his music. Ben's recent Half Made Man is his most personal and adventurous album yet. His voice is grittier here, and the instruments—fiddles, lovely in their sawing, and electric guitars grinding out love and disappointment and every emotion in between—mimic the urgency and passion so evident in his vocals.
Sollee's music frequently touches on social issues including poverty and environmental issues. As a native of Kentucky he is especially passionate about the issue of mountaintop removal in coal mining. This is one of the themes of his collaboration album Dear Companion. He has made several tours of Kentucky on his bicycle, stopping in smaller towns between his headlining performances. In the Summer of 2009, in support of Oxfam America, he traveled 330 miles to the Bonnaroo festival with his supplies and cello strapped to his bicycle.
With Half-Made Man, a record of raw power, grace, and wisdom, Sollee is sure to be measured alongside the best artists of his generation.