Austin-based songwriter Ben Balmer is no stranger to the hardships of life as a touring musician- but that’s the price you pay when devoting your life to making and sharing your music.
The Michigan native first hit the scene with his first professionally recorded album, Dug In, released in 2012. His second album, Loose Lips, Sunk Ships, Bruised Hips and Booze Ships, followed in late 2015, displaying his growth and maturity as a songwriter. Balmer says of his sophomore record, “This is the first album I really felt captured the ‘sound’ I’ve had in my mind…”.
The third and most recent album from Balmer, Honky-Tonk Macbeth, dropped mere months ago in October of 2021. The album features collaborations with fiddle player Eddie Dickerson and electric guitarist Cat Clemons III, with all eleven tracks written by Balmer — a few with assistance from Vivienne Wilder and Noah Collins. Along with some writing and instrumental collaborations, he produced the album alongside Justin Douglas.
One of the latest singles from Balmer, “Married to the Road,” has a chorus and a melody that is sure to get stuck in listeners’ heads.
It doesn’t take someone familiar with Balmer – or even the Americana genre – to be grabbed by the smooth acoustic guitar intro and his inviting voice. The six-and-a-half-minute tune contains beautiful lyrics about the inevitable longing that comes with a musician’s life on the road.
The track boasts two musical interludes, one of which includes an intense and fascinating fiddle solo that concludes with the dramatic ringing of Balmer’s voice singing his final chorus. With a great balance of vocals and instrumentals, “Married to the Road” is a song that is not only endearing and relatable, but satisfying for the everyday listener.
Ben Balmer offers a heartfelt opus in “Married to the Road,” and hopefully for his sake and his fans, he’ll be able to safely get back to it this year and beyond. Perhaps we can all relate to the longing and loneliness of a vagabond in this day and age.