Halifax-based performer Ben Caplan’s new album ‘Old Stock’ comes out June 15. Upcoming tour includes a fall performance in Moncton.
When you think of Ben Caplan, some of the first things to come to mind may be (in no particular order): Halifax, beard, BIG voice, and a zillion tour dates. Caplan is also the type of performer that you can’t ignore. If you’re in a room where he’s performing, there’s no looking away. But besides having an unparalleled and commanding stage presence, Caplan’s appreciation for Eastern European music and its influence on his own writing is equally undeniable.
This week, Caplan shared the track Widow Bride, the first single from his upcoming album Old Stock, due out June 15. From the opening accordion riff and subsequent instrumentation complete with fiddle and clarinet to the layered rhythms and traditional folk structure assembled around Caplan’s demented storyteller delivery, Widow Bride is a powerful glimpse at what’s to come.
In an accompanying statement released with the single, Caplan explains how the story behind Widow Bride is rooted much closer to home.
“I wanted to put this song on album because it was important to me that the album include a nod to the First Peoples who were in this land before colonists, settlers, and various waves of immigrants and refugees arrived,” said Caplan. “The song quotes Queen Victoria ‘looking for a strong young man to match up with these virgin lands.’ The tragedy of the song is the central lie of North America. These were not ‘virgin lands’. The bride was indeed beautiful, but she already had a groom, and he was still very much alive.”
Old Stock is a concept album adapted from the musical theatre production Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story by Hannah Moscovitch. The original production debuted in Halifax in May 2017 and received performances at the National Arts Centre and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Caplan in the starring role. The play is currently in the midst of a seven week Off-Broadway run at Manhattan’s 59E59 Theatres.
A week after finishing his first Off-Broadway acting stint, Caplan sets out on the first of some 40 performances currently lined up for 2018 with dates in Canada, the US, the UK and parts of Europe.
May 1 2018 | Hamilton ON | Mills Hardware
May 2 2018 | Toronto ON | Great Hall
May 3 2018 | Montreal QC | Bar le Ritz
May 4 2018 | Quebec City QC | L’Anti
May 5 2018 | Burnstown ON | Neat Cafe
May 6 2018 | London ON | Rum Runners
May 22 2018 | Krakow, Poland | Alchemia
May 23 2018 | Poznan, Poland | Meskalina
May 24 2018 | Warsaw, Poland | Hydrogazadka
May 25 2018 | Prague, Czech Republic | Futurm
May 26 2018 | Ettiswil, Switzerland | Stimmen Festival
May 28 2018 | Budapest, Hungary | Dürer Kert
May 29 2018 | Vienna, Austria | Porgy & Bess
May 30 2018 | Zurich, Switzerland | Papiersaal
May 31 2018 | Lausanne, Switzerland | Bleu Lézard
June 12 2018 | Buffalo NY USA | Buffalo Iron Works
June 13 2018 | Pittsburg PA USA | Club Cafe
June 14 2018 | Washington DC USA | Pearl Street Warehouse
June 16 2018 | Kennett Square PA USA | Lennett Flash
June 17 2018 | Richmond, VA USA | The Camel
June 19 2018 | NYC, USA | Rockwood Music Hall
June 20 2018 | Boston, MA, USA | City Winery Boston
June 21 2018 | Portland, ME USA | Empire Dine
June 22 2018 | Northampton, MA USA | The Parlor Room
June 23 2018 | South Burlington, VT USA | Higher Ground
Sept 12 2018 | Moncton, NB | Cathedral Church
Sept 14 2018 | Halifax NS | Rebecca Cohen
Sept 20 2018 | London UK | The Lexington
Sept 21 2018 | London UK | The Lexington
Sept 22 2018 | London UK | The Lexington
Sept 23 2018 | Paris France | Les Etoiles
Sept 25 2018 | Nijmegen, Nijmegen | Merelyn
Spet 26 2018 | Rotterdam, Netherland | Rotown
Sept 27 2018 | Utrecht, Netherland | Tivoli/Vrede
Sept 28 2018 | Cologne, Germany | Luxor
Sept 30 2018 | Munich, Munich | Ampere
Oct 1 2018 | Berlin, Berlin | Bi Nuu
Oct 2 2018 | Copenhagen, Denmark | VEGA
Oct 3 2018 | Oslo, Norway | John Dee
Oct 5 2018 | Hamburg, Germany | Knust
*Caplan photo by Jamie Kronick