Kentucky’s Ben Sollee knows a thing or two about genre-bending and mixing and matching various sounds and styles. The cellist/singer-songwriter/folk artist has made a living on the road in recent years, incorporating his travels into a unique listening experience. This past summer, Sollee spent a few days re-exploring the songs that have influenced his life in music, and the result is The Hollow Sessions, a collection of covers that re-imagines the likes of Arthur Russell, Otis Redding, Paul Simon, Fiona Apple, and others.
All the songs were recorded in a makeshift recording studio in just outside Prospect, Kentucky, and the background settings — screened porches, hallways, decks, and living rooms — serve to add to the record’s character. Toss in the sounds of the hollow’s surroundings — bugs chirp, birds whistle, water flows, and the wind — and you have a pretty creative endeavor that adds layers to the overall personality.
Each track has a distinct Sollee feel, especially his take on the Zombies’ classic “This Will Be Our Year.” It certainly rivals the Menswe@r cover born out of Britpop in the early-’90s.