The journey for Ben Hemming and the blues began as a broken man, which led him to a debut album of the same name. After a challenging moment in his life, he needed to make some changes. He decided to head over to America on a musical pilgrimage, a decision that worked out for the best. He picked up a second-hand guitar and “played his way across the southern states in the tradition of the delta Bluesmen before him.” Things changed after seeing “an old man playing an extraordinarily battered one-string guitar. Made from nothing more than a broom handle and a box, whilst playing the drums with his feet.” He understood the raw nature of expressing the music and blues was about the journey, not the destination.
When he returned to the UK, he used material written on the road to assemble his debut album Broken Man. A release praised by the likes of Blues Blast Magazine and Americana UK. It featured stunning moments like “This City” and the exceptional “It rained so hard”. With momentum on his side, he continued creating more new music with the albums City of Streets, The Devil Beside Me, and Broken Road. All, receiving stunning reviews and featuring fantastic moments such as “Devil’s Soul,” “Never had a Heart,” and “Fading Out.”
Hemming has been busy working on a new album. So far, he has shown what is to come with the release of the singles “Lost Faith” and “Cruel World”. Now, 2022 begins with his latest offering, “Living on Death Row.” A song he says is “about losing your grip on what’s important in life and a sense of living right on the edge and losing control.” As well as his guitar, he brings the talents of Lui Rampino (drums) and Reuben Ard (bass) to enrich its soundtrack.
Watch the video for “Living On Death Row” below
Hemming’s previous tracks “Lost Faith” and “Cruel World” have offered something different to each other. “Lost Faith” with a grungy blues sound, while “Cruel World” delivers an Americana vibe. “Living on Death Row” changes the tone again. He gets all dirty with his blues, especially with his attention-stealing slide guitar. It sets the mood for him to deliver the opening lines, “I’ve been living on death row since the day that I was born / Living don’t mean much to me since the devil took my life.”
His six-string steals the show throughout “Living on Death Row.” Not only does it grab the listeners attention from the start, but it continues to do so until its end. It subtly supports Hemming during the verses before it steals the spotlight as it explodes into action during the chorus. If that is not enough, he makes his guitar sing to perfection during a solo midway through.
But “Living on Death Row” is more than just the music. Lyrically, it may not have the depth compared to his other releases. But he delivers them with intent. None more so than during the chorus as he matches the mood of his guitar. He powers out the lines, “I know it’s easy, but I feels it too much / there’s no way out when you live on the edge / My fears rising, but I feel so low / don’t stop me know I’ve lost control.” It sounds even better as he repeats the lines to close out the song.
Ben Hemming delivers yet another outstanding slice of modern day blues with ‘Living on Death Row’
From the quality of the singles released so far, the upcoming album Marked Man by Ben Hemming is shaping up to be something outstanding. He promises it will be more “Blues Rock direction than its predecessors; it still follows his dark and cathartic songwriting, developing a maturity that still holds true to his Blues roots.” From what we have heard so far, his new album is shaping up to be his best work to date.