Benjamin Lazar Davis’ Debut Solo Album, “Nothing Matters”
Saratoga’s own Benjamin Lazar Davis is a gifted multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, arranger and producer currently based in Brooklyn. His forthcoming full-length debut solo album Nothing Matters grew out of an extensive period of touring followed by a difficult break-up. He worked on the record every day, for 30 straight days, in his childhood bedroom at his parents’ house in Saratoga Springs, and once finished, he mixed it back in Brooklyn with his high school friend Luke Moellman.
Although Davis recorded Nothing Matters as a truly solo album with no other performers on the record, numerous collaborations went into the writing of the songs, including co-writes with Kimbra (“Right Direction”), Alex Toth of Rubblebucket and Alexander F (“Love Song Seven Ways,” “Life Is Dangerous,” and “Choosing Sides”), Bridget Kearney of Lake Street Dive (“Somebody’s Speaking For Me”), singer-songwriter Taylor Ashton (“Brass Tacks”), award-winning poet Michael Gizzi (“Acquitted”) and his brother, lyricist Tim Davis.
These days Davis writes, records and performs with Cuddle Magic, Joan as Police Woman and Okkervil River, but he has also worked with Anais Mitchell, Kimbra, Luke Temple, Jesse Harris, Henry Jamison, Wild Belle, Delicate Steve, Star Rover, Sam Amidon, Markus Acher (the Notwist) and Margaret Glaspy as a co-writer, side-musician, arranger, producer, studio musician, touring member and band member in the past. While Nothing Matters grew out of Davis’s desire to make music on his own in a life where he has been a chronic collaborator, the album evokes inspiration from all of these artists, and he considers it a culmination of his life’s work.
As he began work on the album, Davis found a photo of his father lounging beneath a hand-written sign that read “Nothing Matters,” which eventually became the album’s artwork; “It was taken in 1969 in Malawi Africa where he lived at the time. He taught me music growing up, and I think seeing that picture right before recording the record gave me a sense of letting go of all of the baggage that comes with making music and being in a relationship. When in the midst of the meditation of making the album, nothing matters. Just let the tape roll and the ideas flow…”
Nothing Matters is slated for release on 11A Records on Friday (May 4).