Just a few months after the release of his critically acclaimed third studio album, Copenhagen. Benjamin Folke Thomas releases the “live” album, Acoustic Classics. A collection of tracks incorporating all three studio albums, as well as live favourites, which reflects Thomas’ solo live shows.
The album was recorded in Thomas’ living room, with Ben taking the roles of singer, guitarist and audience! It’s a worthwhile exercise, especially if, like me, you’ve been unable to catch any of live performances, solely due to him not having ventured far enough north. As an overall album, Acoustic Classics works well as it showcases some Thomas’ best songs in the light that I would expect they had been originally conceived. Each of the three studio LPs are represented and the live track ‘Sex Addict’ is a welcome new number, to me at least.
There is a concept to the album which sees Thomas’ adopting the persona of a classic country crooner, exemplified by the album artwork and well, shall we say enhanced by the singer’s jokes between songs. I suppose this concept could be described as unnecessary but it adds to the feel of the songs, the schmaltziness is disarming, especially given some of these songs focus on love, loss, heartbreak and despair, definitely a throwback to country classics.
You could argue as to whether such an album, while representative of live performances, actually adds anything worthwhile to a collection. Where Acoustic Classics avoids that particular pitfall is in the working of the actual tracks. For example ‘Finn’, the outstanding single from Copenhagen is also the standout track here. It is however a different beast in this setting. Thomas’ finger pick guitar and baritone vocal manage to make an already emotional song become all the more morose. It’s a strong case of less is more and really highlights how effective one man and a guitar can be.
For me, Acoustic Classics is probably best described as a gateway to Benjamin Folke Thomas. With the three studio LPs covered there is more than enough to tempt any new listeners into exploring the back catalogue, or to catch a live show. For those who are already familiar with the artist, you will have here an endearing and lasting view of a very gifted performer.
Acoustic Classics was released on July 10th
and can be purchased here