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Piano Touring America with Ben Folds in Tow

Catherine Lewis reports:
Starting at the end of this month, singer/pianist Ben Folds will be embarking on his second United States tour in support of his solo debut, Rockin' the Suburbs. This is his first true "solo" tour, though: he's actually hitting the road without a backing band. This more intimate tour-- dubbed "Ben Folds and a Piano"-- was inspired by a recent free-form show at New York City's Bowery Ballroom at which he dug out obscure nuggets like "Emaline," "One Down," and "The Secret Life of Morgan Davis."

Folds formed the trio Ben Folds Five in North Carolina in 1994. The guitar-free band featured bassist Robert Sledge and drummer Darren Jessee along with Folds' piano, and released three albums and a compilation (on Passenger, Caroline, and Sony/550) before splitting rather abruptly at the end of 2000 following their disappointing swan song, The Biography of Reinhold Messner.

Rockin' the Suburbs, on the other hand, harks back to some of BF5's most catchy tunes, for whatever that's worth. Folds played just about every instrument on the record, the way he's done on demos for years. He just released the second single from the album, "Still Fighting It," with a video clip directed by his wife, Frally Hynes. Folds also covers the Beatles lullaby "Golden Slumbers" on the soundtrack for the new Sean Penn/Michelle Pfeiffer film I Am Sam (wouldn't a better choice have been Folds' own tune, "Retarded"? Just asking.)

Folds plans to tour Australia, where he now lives, in April after his U.S. tour is completed. Tour dates:

02-25 Iowa City, IA - University of Iowa Main Lounge
02-26 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
02-27 Milwaukee, WI - The Rave
03-01 Ann Arbor, MI - Michigan Theater
03-02 Chicago, IL - Vic Theater
03-03 Indianapolis, IN - Vogue
03-05 Carbondale, IL - Copper Dragon
03-06 Kansas City, MO - The Beaumont Club
03-08 Houston, TX - Verizon Wireless Theater
03-09 New Orleans, LA - House of Blues
03-10 Austin, TX - La Zona Rosa
03-11 Dallas, TX - Deep Ellum Live
03-13 Scottsdale, AZ - Cajun House
03-15 Denver, CO - Gothic Theatre
03-19 Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
03-20 Seattle, WA - Moore Theater
03-22 San Francisco, CA - Fillmore
03-25 San Francisco, CA - Fillmore
03-26 Los Angeles, CA - El Rey
03-27 Los Angeles, CA - El Rey
03-29 Las Vegas, NV - House of Blues
03-30 Anaheim, CA - House of Blues
03-31 Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up Tavern

.: Pitchfork Review: Ben Folds: Rockin' The Suburbs
.: Ben Folds:
.: Sony/550 Music:
.: Originally published: 13 February 2002
.: Items mentioned above on Rockin' the Suburbs (Ben Folds, 2001); The Unauthorized Biography Of Reinhold Messner (Ben Folds Five, 1999); I Am Sam Soundtrack (2002).