In his latest release, "The Walking in Between," singer-songwriter Ben Rector has stuck to what he knows best: love-driven alternative pop with effortlessness and hope sewn into every lyric.
Rector, an artist with growing popularity, has been touring and working diligently for the past two years in order to release "The Walking in Between," his fifth studio album since 2007.
Over the years, Rector has developed a unique style and has carved out his own niche into the music industry. This album, released on Tuesday, quickly rose to No. 1 on iTunes' singer-songwriter charts.
"The Walking in Between" features Rector in his happy and upbeat element, which has remained constant throughout his career. The album features 13 songs that cover a large span of topics, including love, summer and bad days. While there are a couple of sad songs scattered throughout the album, his sound and perspective brim with optimism.
A line that stands out as a fitting summary for the album comes from the song "I Like You," one of the most lighthearted tracks that encourages listeners to enjoy the small, seemingly trivial aspects of life. "There are way too many love songs/and I think they've got it all wrong/'cause life is not the mountain tops/ it's the walking in between," he sings.
Rector seems to be sharing a theme that life is simpler than people often think. He tackles everyday life and puts a positive spin on it, making this the perfect "feel good" album. He has quite a few love songs on this album, as he has previously, but he certainly does not stop there.
In the last three years, Rector's audience has widened, evident by the way each release climbed higher on the charts. Those who enjoyed albums such as "Songs Duke Wrote" and "Into the Morning" will not be disappointed with the new release because it does not stray from his signature sound.
The songs on "The Walking in Between" are not unexpected. Rector has not made any drastic altercations or ventured into new musical realms since his beginning. His songs and albums follow a recognizable and familiar flow.
While the melodies and instrumentation arrangements are catchy, it seems as though Rector gave priority to his lyrics and an overarching theme that is threaded throughout every song. There are not many dramatic musical additions to accompany his singing. His voice easily cuts through the mandolins, guitars, percussion and piano, taking precedence in a way that is still beautifully balanced.
One of the strongest songs on the album, "Beautiful" has Rector questioning, "How do we end up like this/living lives that we don't care about/too busy fixing things on computer screens/while the grass grows green?" Here he expresses his yearning to return to the days when he lived freely instead of living bound by obligations and pointless tasks; this is a good reminder of what is important and how we should take time to do what we love.
This artist realizes that the everyday struggles and triumphs that everyone faces are real, significant and worth singing about. Admittedly, countless artists sing love songs, and life is not always as simple and carefree as the songs on "The Walking in Between." But, there is something to be said for an artist who makes it easy to feel good about life, and that is certainly who Rector has become.
Bands and artists who are similar to Ben Rector include Matt Wertz, Dave Barnes and Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, all of whom are based in Nashville, Tenn. Ben Rector's "The Walking in Between" tour comes to Knoxville at the Bijou theatre Oct. 9. He will be accompanied by Tyrone Wells."The Walking in Between" can be found on iTunes, along with his other albums.