The Benjamin Smoke/"Smoke" appreciation thread

Anyone else a fan? I feel ashamed to say I only discovered Smoke maybe a couple of years ago. Being a native southerner, I feel like I ought to have been aware of Ben Smoke and his band much sooner.

If you're not familiar, here's a couple of songs from the first Smoke album:

Some time last year, I checked out the documentary, "Benjamin Smoke", which was filmed mostly in the years just prior to his death. In it, the filmmaker followed Benajmin around as he recounted the events of his life as a musician, a junkie and a total queeirdo, while also documenting his day-to-day life in Cabbagetown, a neighborhood of (sh)Atlanta, GA. Generally, he's always mumbling, and at times totally incoherent. You don't really get much of a sense of Benjamin's emotional depth in these interviews (several of which were probably conducted under the influence of methamphetamine), but you can certainly sense it when you see him perform, or when you listen to his unrefined yet poetic approach to writing.

There are also band member interviews, live and practice sessions, and location shots peppered throughout. There's some bad poetry by Patti Smith, too.

As someone born and raised in the dirty south, there is a conflicted, loathingly nostalgic quality to the whole thing, being set in a southern city. I know I'm getting a bit off topic, but for me, that film is as interesting for its setting as it is for its subject. I feel like I've gone back in time when I see the shots of the pre-gentrified late-90's Cabbagetown neighborhood. It reminds me so much of growing up in Caledonia (and later Columbus), Mississippi... particularly the later, it's hard to not to identify with this artist considering his cultural background. He is just uniquely southern, and, at least for me, this makes him uniquely relatable.

I don't know if that's sort of a prerequisite for fully appreciating the man or the music, but it's certainly a big part of what drew me to him. I mention it all for just that reason.
Either way, I'd be interested in hearing from anyone else who might be a fan of his music.



EDIT: Here's a link to the documentary, since I never really described Cabbagetown in any detail:
http://vimeo.com/77872532
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Last edited:
Top Bottom