Like all great country songs, ‘Delilah’ tells a story of the imperfect lives of imperfect people. It is the tale of one of us, the people living on your street, a story filled with people that you recognize … Delilah might even be you. That is the art of writing such narratives, an art that Ben McNeil is superb at.
A central stomping beat anchors everything and around this flows sensitive, finger-picked acoustic and, washes of slide and pedal steel guitars. Banjos gently waltz past, harmony vocals underline and reinforce the storyline vocals as they mix and match in the deliberate spaces left for them to mature.
Born in Nowra NSW, Ben McNeil began playing guitar at twelve years old, inspired by The Beatles and Eric Clapton’s unplugged album. Ben quickly began writing songs and by the age of fourteen started gigging with his high school punk band.
After joining the Navy at twenty, Ben’s music career was on hiatus, all the while absorbing as much information he could on songwriting during his time off. During his time in the Navy he served in the Middle East twice, and was involved in the QLD flood emergency as a Helicopter Air-crewman in 2011.
In 2005 Ben and his band travelled to Brisbane to work on an EP with producer Stuart Stuart. The EP had some minor success, yet the Defence Force had to take precedence. Ben left the Navy in 2016 after moving to Adelaide South Australia, and enrolled with SAE Adelaide to enhance his studio production skills to allow him to work on home recording demos, and to work remotely with producers and other musicians.
In 2018 he released ‘Set In The Back’, a collection of songs he’d written over a period of five years. All of them recorded, mixed and mastered at home, his latest release is another self-produced effort, this time taking an Alt. Country turn and collaborating with producer Syd Green.
Ben took one on one songwriting lessons with Grammy nominee Mary Gauthier late last year into early January. From those sessions, Ben has an invigorated sense of creativity and is currently working on his next project with Syd Green once again.
‘Delilah’ features Bill Chambers on electric guitar, banjo and lap steel, Nicole Brophy on backing vocals, and Syd Green on percussion and bass.