Video Fridays: Benjie Howard

This week’s Video Fridays installment is a very special one for me.

It’s the first installment where I not only get to recommend some great music, I get to recommend some great music from someone whom I also have the great fortune to call my friend.

Benjie Howard is a singer/songwriter who crafts wonderful, heartfelt songs, with a vivid visual quality, songs often naked with personal experiences, and yet songs that don’t feel so personal that the listener has trouble relating.

Benjie’s expressive fingerpicking guitar work and his unaffected, clean vocals are the perfect accompaniment to lyrics rich with references to his years living in New Mexico and as a river guide in Grand Canyon.

Underlying his music, infusing it with no small amount of wisdom, Benjie’s worked for years on a unique approach to environmental and multi-cultural awareness and social justice, coming to fruition in 2004 as New Wilderness Project, which he founded with his brother-in-law, Maketa Wilborn.

Benjie’s new album, Secrets Like Bones, is the result of collaborations with some incredible Bellingham-area musicians, rich with American roots and Southwest U.S. musical DNA. He’s working hard to get the music out to the world, through ReverbNation, he had great success crowdfunding it via PledgeMusic, and he hopes to have it available via the iTunes Store and other outlets eventually.

Of course, I have to mention that I get a special thrill listening to the album, particularly several songs that my wife and I had the pleasure to jam and sing on during visits with Benjie and his family, before he took them into the studio.

And now, the music, my current favorite from the album, Pretty Lights, sung in sweet harmony with Gentri Watson. Whenever I hear the refrain — Look at all them pretty lights, how they shine and they flicker! — it puts a smile on my face.

Happy Weekend, everyone!

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