Ben Caplan’s raspy, deep voice, full beard and wild curly hair reflect a charismatic and distinctive character. His music is equally distinctive and his stage presence takes it up a notch; Caplan is an artist on a journey. Performing solo or with his band, Ben Caplan and The Casual Smokers, he invites his audience along for the ride. This Halifax based band was first formed in 2006 and instruments include guitar, banjo, piano, melodica, flute, saxophones, violin, cello, bass, organ and percussion.
Caplan studied philosophy at King’s college in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is passionate about both theatre and music. His work has a vaudevillian, jazzy quality and he has been described in interviews as possessing an old soul. His music certainly reflects a philosophical disposition, a soul that delves into the deep and a mind that is both contemplative and knowing.
In addition to recording in the studio, in recent years Caplan and his band have toured extensively. In a 2013 Studio Q interview Caplan explains that he enjoys being on the road gigging because he “loves being on the stage” and that he believes that the “new paradigm” in music is to “get out there and perform live.”
Ben Caplan and The Casual Smokers released their debut album, In the Time of Great Remembering, in 2011. The album includes the songs “Beautiful,” an upbeat jazzy track and “Down to the River,” a heavier track that starts slowly with the tempo speeding up as the song progresses and the band and Caplan’s vocals take us “down to the river flowing out onto the sea…” on an almost mythical journey. The rest of the album is equally powerful, and embracing.
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