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Ben Knighten

Keep the Sky
Circle 504 Records

There is so much about this album that shouldn't work. For one thing, Ben Knighten's voice is the soft, Disney-caliber croon of road-trip montages and your grandmother's car stereo. For another, his backing instrumentation is sparse, less simple than it is frankly easy — or easy listening. And his lyrics follow the overt, grass-is-always-greener formula of the singer-songwriter cliché. Worse yet, he's a harmonica fan. But to dismiss the results as cheesy would be to ignore the album's earnest, insightful arrangement and relaxed ambitions. Through odes to Colorado, past mistakes and personal achievement, Knighten downgrades his breathless lyrics to uplift his listeners. There's potential here, but the Colorado Springs songbird would do well to turn down the Jack Johnson overtones and ramp up the humble self-reflection. Knighten might be on the wrong side of the road right now, but he appears to be crossing it.

 
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