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Ben Bullington / Press

“Scott’s interpretations of Bullington’s songs make this a singularly interesting project and will certainly open many ears to songs that may not ever have been heard without his involvement. Bullington released five cds of original songs, with only one co-write - Little Feat’s Bill Payne collaborated on “The Last Adios.” Even though his touring was limited by his full time medical practice, Bullington was joined on recordings by friends Rodney Crowell, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Tracy Nelson, Payne, Will Kimbrough and a slew of other top musicians. His musical impact was strengthened with performances at the Kerrville Folk Festival, the 30A Songwriter Festival, Jammin’ at Hippie Jacks and performances all over the country. Mary Chapin Carpenter adds, “I love Darrell Scott and I loved Ben Bullington. To hear one great songwriter inhabit another’s work is a breathtaking experience, and it makes me happy to imagine that Ben’s gifts will live on through Darrell’s interpret”

“I wasn’t familiar with Bullington’s work. But after listening to Darrell’s tribute, I researched further and learned more about the music, life, and friendship of Darrell and Ben. Darrell’s representation of Bullington’s work on the album, 10 – Songs Of Ben Bullington, is fantastic and your ears will be joyed. Every song was recorded simply and honestly with just a man’s voice, his guitar, and a friend’s words. Eight tracks where recorded at a studio in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Country Music I’m Talking To You was recorded live at show in Texas and the last track on the album, I’ve Got To Leave You Now, was captured on an iPhone for Bullington to listen to during his final months. After devouring Ten, I was not just reassured of Darrell’s musical prowess but I was also introduced to a new songwriter. If you are serious about hearing real, thought-provoking music then stop what you’re doing, buy this album and enjoy 52 minutes of recorded songwriting excellence”

“A medical doctor from a small town in Montana has a passion for songwriting. So he writes and records a few albums over the years and self releases them, occasionally performing at various songwriting festivals over the country. While camping with his kids one year near Yellowstone the good doctor meets Nashville songwriting luminary Darrell Scott, who is also there with his kids. They become fast friends, not through songwriting initially, but through the shared experience of living as divorced fathers. This is the story of Ben Bullington, who succumbed to pancreatic cancer at age 58 in November 2013. Scott did not hear Bullington’s songs until the last year of his friend’s life. When Scott did finally hear them, he was blown away – by the honesty of the compositions and their exceedingly well-crafted nature. “It was all there,” Scott said. “Song after song of hearing someone who loved song as much as I loved song … who knew form and the power of what this simple art can”

“To some, Bullington was a small-town doctor in Montana. To others, he was a beloved songwriter. The latter camp includes guys like Rodney Crowell, Will Kimbrough, and Darrell Scott. Those artists not only considered Bullington a peer, but also a friend. Bullington had never played his music live in Nashville until a month after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in late 2012 when he performed at the Station Inn. A year later, he passed away. But he lived fully and completely inside his music that last year. Bullington may be gone, but Scott is now making sure he's not forgotten by releasing an album of his compositions, 10 -- Songs of Ben Bullington. "From the first time I heard 'Lone Pine' by Ben Bullington, I thought it was a New Grass Revival song that I had missed somehow,” Scott says, adding, “One day, I will sing it with John Cowan, and set the record straight.You do not hear the words 'Miles Davis' and 'W.H. Auden' in many bluegrass songs these days."”

“Ben Bullington wasn't just any small-town Montana doctor. He was also a revered songwriter who counted Rodney Crowell, Will Kimbrough, and Darrell Scott among his fans and friends. But despite his fanbase, Bullington's first-ever Nashville performance happened in December of 2012 at the Station Inn, a month after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The following November, Bullington died, though his songs lived on. To give them even more life, Scott put his own fine touch on them on the upcoming '10 - Songs of Ben Bullington' album. It's a touching affair, through and through, with Scott's fondness for the writer and the written shining bright.”

““10” is an album aimed at listeners who have a few years under their belts. Except for “Country Music,” this is a quiet, simple album that lets the songs do the talking. “Born in 55,” “Thanksgiving 1985” and “I’ve Got to Leave You Now” especially stand out. The first song is about man in a bar talking to the bartender about what’s happened in his (our) life, including the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy. “Thanksgiving 1985” is about a teenage son talking to his father, who was killed as the Vietnam War wound down. And after the nine other cuts, “I’ve Got to Leave You Now” poignantly but quietly closes the door on this recording. Crowell holds “10” in high regard. “There’s not an artist among us, including myself, who could have made a more tone perfect album of Ben Bullington songs than what Darrell Scott has achieved with ’10,’ ” the Houston native said. “I bow in earnest.””

“With those recordings, seeds of a project took root. Originally envisioned as a who’s-who of Nashville recording Bullington’s songs, Scott stepped in with a vision that seemed more truthful and honest, according to Gardner. “We could always do Nashville stars do Ben,” she said. “But Darrell loved the body of it, the body of his work... I think if Ben could choose one person to take his message out to the world, it would be Darrell Scott.” Scott drove around for months with all five CDs in his car, internalizing Bullington’s 67 recorded songs. He gravitated toward their honesty and literary quality, deciding to pare them down to ten favorites and present them as simply as possible. “Sometimes production can disguise the very thing you’re doing, which is songs,” Scott said. “An album of Ben’s songs doesn’t need any disguises.” Scott approached the album with a folk singing mentality, a linear quality an “old aesthetic,” hoping people might listen to 10”

““Performed with conviction and an open heart, Darrell has captured the essence of Ben’s writing, his truths and doubts and dreams not yet realized,” wrote Little Feat keyboardist and Paradise Valley resident Bill Payne in a release. “It is storytelling at its finest, to be shared with those you love.” It’s ridiculous, but true, Scott said, that he didn’t hear Bullington’s songs until the last year of his friend’s life. Pushed by Gardner, Bullington was living his musical dreams as his time grew short. “We had to squeeze 25 years into one,” Gardner said. Those dreams included a Nashville songwriters in the round performance. In the Music City, Bullington took the stage with Scott, Rodney Crowell and Will Kimbrough. “It was all there,” Scott said. “I realized he loved songwriting like anyone up on that stage loved songwriting.””

“Most of the people I talk to write songs intending to perform them. But it’s interesting the level of honesty you get from a song that, maybe there wasn’t ever the idea that it would be recorded or performed. Like “Country Music I’m Talking to You.” It’s hard to imagine that anyone who’s working inside the Nashville music machine would write a song like that. (Kim Ruehl) Yeah, and that’s where I live. I’ve lived in Nashville 23 years now and I never met anyone who’s more angry about the shape of country music over the last few decades than myself, and I’m not afraid to write about any of that kind of stuff, and I have. But I never met anyone in town, myself included, that was holding country music to task, for example, for the Dixie Chicks crap. We all saw it and we all felt it and we were all mad as hell, but not a single one of us to my knowledge, myself included, sat down and wrote about the Dixie Chicks situation. But this guy did it. (Darrell Scott)”

“According to the liner notes on Scott’s new album, 10: Songs of Ben Bullington, that was the first time that he’d heard Bullington’s songs. And, as we can hear on the disc, Bullington was a remarkable songwriter. His lyrics have a natural musicality, and the nuance of his stories is bowl-you-over good in places. Scott’s treatment of the songs is pure and arresting. Here’s one of the most versatile artists in the Americana/roots world, whose instrumental prowess is well documented, giving one strum per measure in some cases, leaving room for the songs to create their own life. Banjo notes are plucked and left to resonate or not. Every element of the songs is presented to just be what it is, without embellishment. Not a lot of songs could stand up when stripped to such simplicity. But whether it’s Bullington’s composition or Scott’s performance, these songs have as much heart as they’ve got guts.”

“Back before all the music was online and everyone’s cousin’s neighbor was in an indie band with a record out, there was an unwritten rule that the best songwriters in the world were the ones you’d never hear. Now that independent music seems to be pouring out of every click and sidebar, even I have come to believe that’s no longer true. But a new album from one of the finest songwriters in the business has changed my mind.”

““The first line [‘We don’t all die young’] is about Ben Bullington,” Crowell continues, referring to the Montana doctor who died in November 2013 from cancer. A singer and songwriter in his spare time, Bullington became friends with Darrell Scott, who, during the last three months of Bullington’s life, started sending the him tapes of Scott singing Bullington’s songs. Last month, Scott released 10: Songs of Ben Bullington, a beautiful tribute to this father of three whose songs are timeless and powerful. On May 19, Crowell joined Scott and numerous others to play a release party for the album in Nashville. The story obviously resonated deeply with both Chisel and Crowell, who says that after penning that opening line, “Our conversation turned to Gram, Johnny Cash, Waylon, people we were close to and that we lost. The song deals with all of these individuals we’ve traveled with - if you’re at all able in your vision and musical gift, you’re able to achieve this kin”

“Grammy winner Rodney Crowell says Bullington's songwriting sensibilities "were a hybrid blend of intelligence, innocence and wry observance" and "refreshingly free of what we came to know as 'the music business.' He reminded me that a good and true song needs no other purpose." Scott and Crowell were joined onstage by several Bullington fans at the album's Nashville CD release party in late May, including Bill Cowan, Bill Payne, Gretchen Peters, Tracy Nelson, Tommy Womack and Will Kimbrough. Earlier that day, Bullington's "Country Music I’m Talking to You," a scathing indictment of Music Row and country radio, was played on WSM — the voice of the Grand Old Opry.”

“Nashville recording artists are known for a lot of things, but generosity doesn't come up every time. Here, Darrell Scott covers 10 songs by deceased friend Ben Bullington, better known as a doctor, but also a formidable songwriter. Almost all simple guitar, banjo or piano and vocal arrangements are played live and not overdubbed; these are touching, moving and beautiful songs which deserved the audience Scott can hopefully give them - Springsteen's Nebraska is a reasonable comparison. A particular standout is 'Country Music, I'm Talking to You,' with Bullington railing against the darkness and ignorance he sees in his native art form.”

SW - Acoustic Magazine

“There’s more wonderful stuff, some of the best I have ever heard, and Darrell performs as good, if not better than he ever has! He pulls out his banjo for “Lone Pine” to produce a wistful, lonesome sound. The song is akin to something Darrell himself wrote (a Scott classic to boot!) and with Scott deciding which instrument from his wonderful stock of eighty best suited for individual songs. Plus you have Ben’s piano, upright bass, Dirk Powell’s 1920’s banjo, Christina Balfa’s 1948 Gibson southern jumbo and a guitar made by Guy Clark.”

“As stated in the liner notes Scott started sending Bullington I-phone recordings the last three months of his life, the first “I’ve Gotta Leave You Now” makes it on to the record just as it was, it and a live recording of “Country Music, I’m Talking To You”. Both are major songs of the collection. The first a poignant, beautifully written expressive piece has Scott on piano, the second awash in wry humour speaks of the demise of real country music, and it laments as to why the likes of Malcolm Holcombe, Mary Gauthier, Fred Eaglesmith among others aren’t bigger stars than they are.”

“So here you that them, a bunch of killer songs with exquisite lyrics; its little wonder Scott soon became lost in them, and in doing so adopted every one of them to become like foster children. For this to happen in the manner the songs (and Bullington as a person) had to be special, and for Scott to forgo releasing an album of his own material underlines his admiration for a man he knew for all too short a time.”

“While there were poignant moments, like Crowell performing a song about the last day he spent with Bullington, and Peters' rendition of her original "The Cure for the Pain," the show was far from somber. Crowell and Scott served up Bullington's sharp-tongued "Country Music, I'm Talking to You," and Womack delivered his own stream of consciousness epic, "Alpha Male & The Canine Mystery Blood." Perhaps some audience members were unaware of Bullington's work and were drawn to the City Winery that night because of the stellar lineup of performers. If so, the show's finale, which featured all of the artists leading the crowd in a moving rendition of "In the Light of Day," made it clear that the doctor's words, and his spirit, will live on.”

"You're in store for a night like no other," Darrell Scott promised Tuesday night's crowd at City Winery. "It will never happen again." Big words, but Scott and his friends — a collection of some of roots music's finest, including Rodney Crowell, Will Kimbrough, Bill Payne, Gretchen Peters, Barry Walsh, John Cowan, Kenny Malone, Tommy Womack and Tracy Nelson, along with up-and-coming band Boy Named Banjo — lived up to them. The evening was a celebration of Ben Bullington, a Montana doctor and songwriter who died of pancreatic cancer in 2013. Scott, who released "10," an album of Bullington's songs this week, served as emcee as performers sang Bullington's lyrics and their own material and shared stories about their friend, who, after his diagnosis, "had to cram 25 years (of living) into one," said Bullington's longtime friend Joanne Gardner.

“For one thing, the 'album' in question features Scott--solo--doing ALL songs by a completely unheralded, deceased songwriter--Ben Bullington...and as the evening unfolded, not only Scott's incredible virtuoso playing, singing and love for his friend's craft emerged, but Bullington's lost brilliance, all on its own, simply blew the (packed) house away. Joanne Gardner shared some personal stories of Ben (and her great voice), and add to that Nashville's VERY best (also nationally unheralded) performers--Gretchen Peters, Will Kimbrough, and Tommy Womack--and then, picture iconic country/pop session drummer Kenny Malone onstage the whole time, HAND DRUMMING the most amazing 'touches' you've ever seen!...and oh, yeah--Rodney Crowell, Tracy Nelson, you know...just another Tuesday night in Nashville! OMFG, whatever that means...and I mean it!”

“The first time I heard Ben Bullington’s music, I froze. His haunting vocals inspired a strange and inexplicable longing for home and kinfolk I’d never known. The small-town doctor was gritty and soulful, reflective and funny. In addition to being chief of staff of a twenty-five-bed Montana Hospital and a family physician for twenty years, the lanky, six-foot-five Virginia native (and former Vanderbilt student) was a scientist, geologist, and prolific singer-songwriter, poet, and guitar enthusiast obsessed with Nashville.”

“ Bullington's music gives the same kind of treatment to Montana that so many songwriters give to Texas, West Virginia and Tennessee. He sings about the road from Kanesville to Pray, about White Sulphur Springs and Montana girls. His most popular tracks are "Born in 55," which is a pedal-steel-infused litany of events about the JFK assassination and civil rights, and "I Despise Flies," a dark depiction of the house fly. There are prophetic songs, too, written years before Bullington's diagnosis, like "I've Got to Leave You Now," where he sings to his sons: "Our souls might mingle in the after torch/ like four friends smoking on a midnight porch./ I've always loved you the best I knew how./ I've gotta leave you now."”

“The former doctor from Big Timber doesn't fix what isn't broken on his fourth album, Lazy Moon. Simple guitar work and song structures carry his easygoing voice—even on the upbeat "Cup of Strong Black Coffee," Bullington maintains that casual, we've-got-all-day tone. Nearly a dozen collaborators on bass, mandolin and banjo breathe life into the poetry but never overpower. Then there's the reference to actual poetry: "W.H. Auden is lying open face down, a Miles Davis solo is floatin' around," Bullington sings on "Lone Pine." It might be the lack of percussion that makes a lot of these songs blur together like so many fields stretching across the Hi-Line. They all become variations on the same theme, which, if you've lived here long enough, you know is the truth about Montana anyway.”

“ BB: "Real art has a point of view and has a politic in it. It’s different than something being exactly topical. I value careful thinking and education, which is sometimes characterized as elitism. I believe in science — to allow this many people to live on the planet, we’ve got to get rid of an ideology where we’re unable to face facts."”

“Along the way, Bullington moved from heavy irony to tender details, story songs that embraced the tangle of reality with a pathos tempered with strength and a sense of truth that has torn edges, dog-eared corners and a solid core. (PLEASE READ THE WHOLE REVIEW BELOW!) http://www.nodepression.com/m/blogpost?id=2342817%3ABlogPost%3A871925 ”

“Helped out here by a cadre of talent (including Nashville songwriting legend Rodney Crowell) and some smoothly engineered sound, Bullington sings his way through his country and folk-styled compositions with the just-right dusty voice that comes with years of observation. Get a cozy table at the back of the room and let the singer spin out the visuals. The title cut is a gentle loper with cool lyrics; “The Engineer’s Dark Lover” has Bullington wondering, amidst silky viola, about the loneliness of a woman coping with her train-riding husband who’s never home. “Yankee Girl” is a pretty waltz with cool clarinet and mandolin (“Oh, Yankee Girl, I like your style; your razor wit and your brainy smile”); and “Two Headlights” ruminates on the discovery of a life-threatening disease, and taking a new look at life. Plenty more where these came from. Visit him at www.benbullington.com.”

“Must be nice to multi-task. In a seasoned baritone, ex-Virginian and Livingston-area physician, guitar player and singer-songwriter Ben Bullington sonically visualizes experiences soaked up from a long career in many professions. He mines comfortable territory on his third CD, offering up thoughtful story poems about the western landscape, lonely lovers and life’s curveballs and how we handle them. And some hopeful notes on love. His mature sound reflects the highway and bar life, desperate people, and rough-cut occupations he’s met up with. He sees them all with a critical eye and pens great storylines. ”

“Satisfaction Garage ...Four Stars "Album number three from the acclaimed Montana songsmith is more of those finely drawn portraits of people, landscapes, relationships and life experiences. Though recorded in Nashville, this album has little or no connection to the pop-country sounds you’ll hear on mainstream country radio."”

“Satisfaction Garage - Four Stars "What we have here is the pure essence of what has become known as Americana with such crack session players as Fats Kaplin, Will Kimbrough, Kenny Malone, George Bradfute and Rodney Crowell. The latter, no mean songwriter himself, co-produced the title song and Last Night’s Been Gotten Through. Anyone who has lost a close friend or relative through illness will instantly be moved by Lester Mays (He Lived The Way He Wanted To) with a lyric that is so real and close to the truth that it hurts. There’s a more light-hearted feel to Miss June a song that paints a convincing portrait in a little under four minutes of pure economical use of words. Though this has been out a while, I suggest that you go on a search for it, you won’t be disappointed.”

“Ben's eleven songs deal in a homely and gentle way with the world he lives in and the people in his life; he observes things with a sympathetic eye and tells stories of the lives being played out around him. There's beauty in Ben's own playing and bags of character in his singing.”

“Two years ago or so, Ben's CD "White Sulphur Springs" arrived and was relegated to the overflowing pile of singer-songwriter CDs I receive constantly. I didn't even look at it until Joanne e-mailed me seeking to get Ben on the air. I pulled it out and was floored. "Born in 55" hits a nerve for someone every time I air it. And "I'm a Stranger" is terrific at capturing that moment in history and the feelings many of us had. His songs are really good. ”

Terry O - Sly Dog Madtown Blog

“Bullington keenly delivers solid tunes. He also has good people on his side: The album features country great Rodney Crowell and Nashville multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplin, who's played for Garth Brooks and Waylon Jennings. Bullington should have Montana on the country map any day now. ”

Erika Fredrickson - Missoula Independent

“Thank goodness for Ben Bullington. On Satisfaction Garage the White Sulphur Springs musician (and family practice doctor) hits notes with the same gritty ease as Kris Kristofferson or Bruce Springsteen with tracks like "The Engineer's Dark Lover." The album's strength is in the stories: songs of ponderosa pine on the Cheyenne Range, the road from Kanesville to Pray, Mont. and the way Clear Channel comes across the waves "like a weak cup of coffee when you wanted a strong one." ”

“There’s a subtle and gentle grace to this man’s music that warrants your hearing.”

“Montana songwriter Ben Bullington's songs frame “moments of the delicacy and poignancy of everyday experience,” and just as easily cross over to wryly document the absurdity of those random frat-boy drive-by yelps in the night or rampant political hypocrisy.”

“There’s the body language of “No Matter How Many Times” and “Come to Me,” and the reminiscences of youth in “Born in ’55.” And Nelson sings with him on the soft country loper, “I’m a Stranger,” with its “Will the Circle be Unbroken” overtones. Bullington doesn’t waste words."”

“His lyrics will take you through the countryside of area rich in character, variation as his lyrics speak of ‘dreams don’t come easy on seven bucks an hour and of how money don’t mean every thing’. Little wonder he has won glowing admiration and backing from one of his heroes, Rodney Crowell”

“This album is exactly what a folk-country album should be—straightforward, plaintive and perceptive. Bullington sings about America's working class, waitresses and drifters, but also Montana's wide-open spaces, ranch dogs and the ring around the moon.”

“I won't take responsibility if you listen to this superb CD in the car and end up sitting in the driveway until it ends. It's a very special recording.”

“He captures the essence of farmers, drifters, drivers and just plain working folks better than any songwriter I've heard in many a year, and he does so with poetic skill. He tells a narrative of the America most of us miss or only see in the rear view mirror.”

“When Rich Warren played "Twangy Guitars" on "The Midnight Special" last week he took the unusual step of urging his listeners to stop whatever they were doing and pay very close attention. I did. And now I urge my readers to keep a close ear out for Ben Bullington.”