You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Ben Folds brings New York's finest to Aus

AAP logoAAP 17/08/2016 Danielle McGrane

Ben Folds has left New York's music community in a very sorry state.

The singer-songwriter has brought six of the city's best classical musicians, who make up the yMusic chamber ensemble, over to Australia for a series of concerts here.

"yMusic are becoming legendary, the cool arts papers in New York are constantly labelling them the number one classical group," Folds told AAP.

"They're a New York staple now and their musicianship is on everything from Bon Iver to Bjork, to Sufjan Stevens, Dirty Projectors and Paul Simon, they're all over the map."

However, to Folds' credit, the yMusic chamber ensemble played a very important part in his last album, So There.

The record was split in two, the first eight chamber pop songs were performed with yMusic while the rest was a piano concerto which Folds recorded with the Nashville Symphony.

"I'm really lucky I get to work with them (yMusic). I'm featuring them a lot more aggressively than I think anyone else," he said.

Folds will happily gush about the viola player who recently won a Peabody Award for her podcast or the cellist who is sought after all over the world.

"I could go on about the whole group, they're really exceptional," he said.

It's a break for Folds who, after 20 years in the music industry, has spent enough time talking about himself.

His confessional lyrics have stood out from the moment he released Brick in 1997, a song about his high school girlfriend's abortion.

On So There, released last year, he frequently spins between humour and sincerity, as is his wont: he contemplates death on I'm Not the Man while on Yes Man he complains that his girlfriend didn't tell him about his weight gain.

But he says he doesn't revisit every heartache or slight on stage.

"You do detach yourself in a way that probably a good surgeon does," he said.

"It's important to recognise that it's an abstract art form and that people take away from the ambiguity and the poetry of music their own thing."

Australian audiences will soon get a chance to tap into their own emotional reactions to Folds' music on his upcoming tour around the country with yMusic.

"This is our last tour so we view it as a pretty special time," he said.

"We play other songs that I've written too, we're not just there to sell the new record."

*Ben Folds with yMusic tour:

August 18 - QPAC, Brisbane

August 20, 21 - Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House

August 23 - Perth Concert Hall

August 25 - Adelaide Entertainment Centre

August 26, 27 - Palais Theatre, Melbourne

August 28 - Canberra Theatre, Canberra

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon