Halifax, Nova Scotia
He’s a big guy with a big beard and a big voice. He plays guitar, banjo, melodica, and keyboards, and the music that he makes with his band, The Casual Smokers, has its origins in folk, roots, roma, klezmer, and jazz. He’s been compared to world class performers from Tom Waits to Freddy Mercury and everything in between. If you ever get the chance to see Ben Caplan play live… don’t miss it!
The music of Ben Caplan & The Casual Smokers is diverse, ranging from poetic ballads to frenetic gypsy anthems, but even when the band delivers the roughest of bar room stomps, there is a surprising depth and musicianship to the songs. Expressive percussion, upright bass, violin, sax, clarinet, flute, and terrific use of call and response sing-along choruses all help Caplan & The Casual Smokers stand out from the masses influenced by the same sounds.
Ben formed the first incarnation of The Casual Smokers in 2007. Since then he has played a seemingly endless number of shows with a total of 37 different musicians. The young bandleader credits this diversity of instrumentation and musical personalities for the development of his unique approach to crafting songs and his dynamic arrangements.
Ben Caplan & The Casual Smokers released their first EP in August 2009. The eponymous release was a live recording of a 2008 concert at the Chapel at The University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Independently released, manufactured and distributed by Caplan and friends, the EP is presently in it’s fifth pressing.
In mid 2010, a stable line up of all-star Casual Smokers was nailed down, featuring Matt Gallant on drums, Ron Hynes on Bass, Donald McLennan on violin, and David Christensen on clarinet, saxophone, and flute. An increasingly tight and refined band, Ben Caplan & The Casual Smokers have begun catching attention from the CBC, community radio, music blogs, and audiophiles around the world. With showcases this last year at The Halifax Pop Explosion, Nova Scotia Music Week, and the East Coast Music Awards, the band is rapidly growing and ready to take off. With their debut LP slated for release in August 2011, Ben Caplan & The Casual Smokers are destined to go far.