Ben Smith | songwriter/teacher/author
2019’s Picardy is the latest album from prolific songwriter, Ben Smith. It joins a long line of song projects Ben has taken on over the last 20+ years—with bands (The Gilroys, Wise and Foolish Builders, Missing Palmer West), solo records (2011’s Crooked Earth, 2013’s EP Ravine Road), his annual Old Man Winter holiday song catalog, his songs-for-hire project Songsmith, and his in-the-works musical Page Two.
Smith, from West Chester, Pennsylvania has been one of WXPN’s long time favorite, local singer-songwriters, supporting his songs on the air and showcasing them in an episode of their Key Studio session video series. XPN’s program director Bruce Warren is a fan, calling Smith’s music “all good things warm and welcoming.”
Most of Ben’s songs are written at the piano, and sound both traditional—at home in some front parlor or back barroom—and sophisticated, something overheard echoing down a chamber hall, often accompanied by strings and other elaborate arrangements. It’s Harry Nilsson, Elvis Costello, Randy Newman, Rufus Wainwright, and Ray Davies--or at least that's the plan.
You can find, listen, and purchase all of the songs here. Or on Spotify, Apple Music, or wherever music is streamed.
Ben’s career as a writer began in the theater, studying playwriting under Tony award-winning playwright Mark Medoff as part of Pennsylvania’s Young Playwrights competition, and later at NYU in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study where his focus areas were in dramatic writing and music.
In addition to his songwriting, Ben’s writing includes essays, reviews, poetry, and his debut novel, Darling Energy.
“Auld Lang Syne and the Dying Social Song” (later featured on HuffPost Live)
“It’s a Massively Large World After All”
“Because You Can”
“Uncle Bob” (review of Guided by Voices @ Underground Arts for WXPN’s The Key)
“Tourniquet” for The English Journal July 2020
Darling Energy is Smith’s debut novel. Available here.
Ben has been a high school English teacher for over two decades. In the classroom and as advisor to the nationally recognized literary and art magazine The Folio, he has helped student writers find their voice on the page.
Ben is an Advanced Placement teacher and a fellow of the National Writing Project through PAWLP (the Pennsylvania Writing and Language Project).