Ben Bostick/Grown Up Love/Simply Fantastic Music
Four out of Five Stars
With three previous albums that put him in the country-rock genre, Ben Bostick could well have ridden on his established reputation and simply continued to follow a formula that would likely have continued to prove quite successful. However, with a hard year behind him and a series of problems that plagued him and his family, he opted instead to share a series of love songs that recall the deep and sometimes dark, resonant sound of Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Diamond, Jason Isbell, and other artists that manage to summon up sentiment from the darker reaches of their soul.
The result is a collection of melodies that are not only immediately affecting, but also immeasurably reassuring, even in the midst of challenging circumstances. While “Different Woman” kicks off the proceedings on a lofty, lighthearted reggae-like lilt, repeated later “The Myth of Translation” (think a playful Cat Stevens or Paul Simon), most of the songs that follow—“Shades of Night,” “Lucky Us,” “If We Only Had Tonight,” and “Under the Palmetto Moon” in particular—resonate as beautiful ballads, all tender love songs that profuse a consistent level of dedication and devotion undeterred by whatever hardships or obstacles encountered in a year fraught with anxiety and uncertainty. The album cover doesn’t provide the production credits, but suffice it to say that the rich arrangements speak for themselves. Bostick has been touted as a one-man band and it’s possible that these sumptuous sounds are his work alone.
Whatever the case may be, Grown Up Love is an album that stands alone, a comforting and contemplative showcase for an artist who is clearly evolving assuredly and intently. In the song “The Diagnosis,” Bostick sums up his sentiments succinctly. Just because you know the truth doesn’t mean you know what it means, he professes, a probable reference to his daughter being diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, but also a clarion call as far as coping with life’s difficulties in general.
Hope will light our way on the darkest of our days, Bostick sings later in that same song, and once again, it’s perseverance and possibility that shine through. We should all be so fortunate as to understand and appreciate the life lessons Bostick’s learned, and those which he shares here so freely.