Song Premiere: Ben Winship, “Toolshed”

They call it studio magic, but the truth is that the best recording studios aren’t Wonka-esque wonderlands of fancy gear, they’re humble churches to the joys of making music.

Roots musician, recording engineer, and well-traveled sideman Ben Winship knows this well. He’s grown his backyard space, The Henhouse in tiny Victor, Idaho, into a renowned recording space centered less on the gear and more on the vibe, the kind of easy relaxed musical space that calls out for new songs and old tunes. It’s also the space where he’s been working on two ambitious albums, each one a separate showcase of his talents and perspectives and both of them full-to-the-rafters with powerful guests and friends. To be released together July 19, 2019, both albums, Toolshed and Acorns, showcase Ben’s songwriting, arranging, and musicianship with a host of artists he’s come to know from years of performing on the road.

Toolshed showcases a full-band sound, forming Americana and country-rock soundscapes and featuring guests like Louisiana legend Ivan Neville, bluegrass legend Joe Newberry, Travis Book of The Infamous Stringdusters, Grammy-winning fingerstyle guitarist Mike Dowling, and Stanton Moore, the drummer for Galactic. Acorns showcases a more organic roots music world based around late-night jam sessions and picking parties, and includes guests like Canadian artists Pharis Romero and Chris Coole, plus Northwest guitarist Forrest Gibson and fiddlers Scotty Meyer and Rayna Gellert. Both albums feature Brittany Haas, Eli West, and Mollie O’Brien, among others.

Releasing two albums at once may be a daunting prospect for any artist, but Ben Winship needs this much space. He’s got a much longer musical wingspan than most artists, and easily bears the weight not only of so many stellar guests and all kinds of complex arrangements, but also his own outstanding musicianship and songwriting.

Today, Ghettoblaster has the pleasure of sharing the title track from Toolshed. It features electric guitar from Rich Brotherton of Robert Earl Keen’s band. This is what Winship had to say about it.

 “Back before texting, I used to play my mandolin while driving — mostly on long straight roads, steering with my knee. I remember writing this one headed south on I-15 from Butte to Idaho Falls en route to the Targhee Bluegrass Festival. Thrilled to have my college housemate Rich Brotherton shredding on it.”