“Ben Lang’s debut Modern Man EP showcases his original style. It’s off-balance, country-tinged, singer-songwriter fare. Slightly Americana with a hint of folk but firmly, most definitively focused in Ben’s solidly written songs and delivery.”
“This is truly a solo release, with Ben Lang providing the vocals and playing all the instruments. The music is folk, sort of, though at times more in line with, say, the early Violent Femmes sound, and with some country elements too.
The disc opens with “Houston-New Orleans,” which came to me as a delightful surprise the first time I popped this disc in. Something about this song had me smiling almost immediately. And the album’s artwork seems to be in wonderful contrast with its title.”
Translated from German: “The tracks presented here are loosely and easily shot from the hip, have good melodies, pep and conjure up a smile on the lips of the attentive listener with their sometimes ironic-funny lyrics.
There is a cool nonchalance to the songs, without appearing relaxed or sleepy in any way. In fact, it is almost basically quite brisk, even if this has to be seen in the context of an acoustic guitar. In [the track] ‘Modern Man’ this moves almost prancing with fine picking, supplemented in the background by vigorous but restrained bass and drums accompaniment, which unfortunately only lasts three and a half minutes. This is really good material, the positive charisma of which the listener can hardly escape.
No question: Provided that the American has another dozen tracks of this quality up his sleeve, he is pretty ripe for his debut album. Therefore: Push Modern Man EP into the system, set the desired volume and have fun with it!”
“I was impressed with his vocal style with such tracks as the title track ‘Modern Man,’ ‘Hollow Spaces,’ ‘Mr. Moon,’ and others. This EP showcases a mixture of country, folk and a bit of blues with a great performance and songwriting and superb recording. I am looking forward to seeing what he does next.”
“He’s been about a bit has Ben Lang, as a founding member of an assortment of other bands, but [Modern Man EP] sees him in solo troubadour mode. And it’s enjoyable. It’s acoustic singer / songwriter stuff with a helping of country. Well he does originally come from Texas. He rarely gets out of a canter but that’s how it’s supposed to be with this sort of reflective material. He’s not a singer (in capital letters) but has a world-weary voice that in a few places is reminiscent of Lou Reed.
Certainly he’s a strong songwriter and all of the songs have their moments in the sun. The best of them is probably ‘Houston-New Orleans,’ the opening number, which certainly sets out his stall. The guitar playing is uniformly excellent and the production while nominally straightforward still manages to throw in a few, well thought out moments where you go ‘ooh.’ A good one.”
‘Houston-New Orleans’ comes across as an upbeat travelogue as a steady thump and catchy strum underpin the Port Arthur-born, San Rafael-based musician’s deceptively deadpan delivery – an account of a contemporary cowboy’s woes – before sweet communal harmonies wash over the cut’s chorus, while the twangy title track rocks a lovers’ lane with a gentle swagger set up by a full-group arrangement, and the transparent ‘Nailin’ It’ channels romanticism through a fragile echo chamber. Lang’s conversational approach will reach the apex on ‘Hollow Spaces’ where his simple lines feel most intimate, but it’s followed by the hoedown-fit ‘Tee Off With Your Head’ that induces a smile on the listener’s face and welcomes the short lullaby-like ditty ‘Mr. Moon’ – the ‘Midnight Special’ for our times.
“Lang has a very gentle approach to songwriting, and he’s clearly having fun with what he does. The songs are catchy. The EP starts with ‘Houston-New Orleans,’ a very upbeat track. The title cut ‘Modern Man’ slows things down a bit, but it’s a song with definite charisma and personality. ‘Nailin’ It’ breaks it down even more when it comes to that stripped-down feeling. Once again, Lang’s charisma carries it and leaves you in a very reflective mood. ‘Hollow Spaces’ continues in this great spirit. By ‘Tee Off With Your Head,’ things speed up, but the mood remains. It’s a very mathematical song with some cool Willie Nelson influences. The EP closes with ‘Mr. Moon,’ and it’s a track that let’s you down easy with its gentle stomping.
"Modern Man EP features six tracks filled with great words, melody and highlighted by a ‘do-it-yourself’ flavor to the music. The up-tempo strumming of ‘Houston-New Orleans’ kicks things off with a nostalgic sounding, Village Vanguard-style delivery. His words find their way to your heart during the singing of ‘Nailin’ It,’ before Ben Lang closes out his new album with the quick folk-style strumming of ‘Tee Off With Your Head’ and the short blues of ‘Mr Moon.’"
"Join Nancy J. Reid and Lisa D. Smith, the mother-daughter travel team and publishers of Big Blend Magazines, for Big Blend Radio’s Champagne Sundays Show airing live from Madison, Wisconsin. California-based singer-songwriter Ben Lang shares some of the songs and stories behind his solo release “Modern Man” that offers six finely crafted alternative-acoustic tracks, with expressive lyrics and a slight country feel. The Big Blend Radio Champagne Sundays Show interview is up and available to stream any time. Click the link and jump to 51:23 to listen!"
"Opening on the vibrant, free-flowing across the plains, gentle bounce of 'Houston-New Orleans,' next up is the foot-tappin' vibe of the Americana-imbued 'Modern Man.' A track that works its way into being, you can hear all Lang's influences coming together as one. That's followed by the lo-fi, organic acoustic guitar ballad 'Nailin' It.' Up next is the beautiful, mid-tempo ballad 'Hollow Spaces,' which is itself backed by the smoothly fervent, Hee-Haw imbibed 'Tee Off With Your Head,' with this delightful new EP coming to a close on the lonesome vocal outreach to above on 'Mr. Moon.'"
Translated from Italian: “Modern Man EP is great. ‘Houston-New Orleans’ is a really beautiful song. Ben Lang, American, offers an interesting mix between country, folk and a touch of that gentle rock that refers to Paul Simon. Here is what he told us.”
“A vet of the alt.country sound, Ben Lang rings true and authentic on this short set that finds him as insurgent in his own way as Merle Haggard was in his own way. There’s really something going on here.”
Modern Man EP offers a real flavour of what Ben is about with half a dozen, self-written, folk, and country tinged alternative-acoustic tracks. He’s an accomplished musician with a delightful vocal range. ‘Houston-New Orleans’ is a wonderfully melodic number that put me in mind of Jonathan Richman. If you’re ever in San Rafael, California on a Friday evening, you know where to go.”