NORTH Carolina pianist, songwriter, author and podcast host Ben Folds will play the Grand Opera House, York, on his What Matters Most Tour this autumn.
Tickets for the 56-year-old American’s November 16 gig – his first ever York show – will go on sale tomorrow morning (22/2/2023) at atgtickets.com/york.
Making his name fronting the alt-rock trio Ben Folds Five, his genre-bending music has taken in collaborations and special projects.
Folds tours as a pop artist, while also performing with some of the world’s greatest symphony orchestras and serving since 2017 as the first ever artistic advisor to the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, New York.
Frequently he guest-stars in film and on television, latterly appearing as himself in three episodes of the Amazon Prime series The Wilds. Last year he received an Emmy nomination for his new theme song for The Peanuts Apple TV special, It’s The Small Things, Charlie Brown.
As an advocate for the arts, he serves on the board of the Arts Action Fund, Planet Word and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. In his home state, he has launched a music education initiative for children.
In 2019, he released his memoir, A Dream About Lightning Bugs, with a second book on its way. In 2021, he launched his podcast, Lightning Bugs.
On June 2, Folds will release What Matters Most, his first studio album since his 2015 collaboration with the string ensemble yMusic, on New West Records.
“There’s a lifetime of craft and experience all focused into this one record,” says Folds. “Sonically, lyrically, emotionally, I don’t think it’s an album I could have made at any other point in my career.”
Recorded in East Nashville and co-produced by Folds with Joe Pisapia, this “bold, timely, cinematic” work spans the bittersweet to the tragic, despair to hopefulness, the title track being inspired by Folds’s late friend, the actor and comedian Bob Saget.
“I come from the vinyl era, and this perhaps more than any record I’ve made is a true album,” says Folds. “There’s a very specific sequence and arc to each side, all building up to this almost surreal positive finale, and that structure was really important to me.
“More than anything, I wanted to make an album that was generous, that was useful. I want you to finish this record with something you didn’t have when you started.”
The track listing is: But Wait, There’s More; Clouds With Ellipses (featuring dodie); Exhausting Lover; Fragile; Kristine From The 7th Grade; Back To Anonymous; first single Winslow Gardens; Paddleboat; What Matters Most
and Moments (feat. Tall Heights)
On the What Matters Most tour, Folds will combine his new album with songs from his 35-year career. Guitarist and singer Lau Noah, from Catalonia via New York, will open the shows.
York will be the only Yorkshire gig on the 2023 tour’s nine-date British and Irish leg in November.