I recently started getting into the music of Radical Face ever since two of my favorite TV shows, Criminal Minds and Bones, used one of his songs during some particularly poignant episodes. The single “The Gilded Hand” is dead-man-walking morose and pensive, the perfect background music to Sweets’ death and the execution of an inmate (hey, it’s been weeks since these episodes aired; you’ve had your chance). But don’t worry, Radical Face offers much more than just melancholic, folksy tunes.
Behind Radical Face (the name was supposedly snatched from a flyer about ‘radical face surgery’, where the word ‘surgery’ had been torn out) is singer/songwriter Ben Cooper, whose chops and indie-folk musical styling are comparable to acts like Bon Iver and Iron and Wine.
Ben is a great narrator, which you get to see specifically in his “Family Tree” album trilogy. He relays struggle and hope as only someone with actual experiences of these emotions can, and sets them to a great backdrop of acoustic guitar, piano, accordion, and banjo that you can’t help but stomp to no matter how sad the theme of the song is.
Aside from “Gilded” (from The Family Tree: The Branches), I’ve been looping other favorites from his albums, like the rompy “We’re On Our Way” (from The Bastards – Volume One EP) and “Welcome Home” (from Touch The Sky EP), the dramatic but clappy “Ghost Towns” (from The Family Tree: The Roots), and the dream-like “The Crooked Kind,” and jumpy “The Mute” (both from The Branches).
So if you’re in the mood for a bit of cracker-barrel storytelling not necessarily related to a TV death, all of his songs are worth a listen.