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The Backroom, McGrorys Hotel, Culdaff, Co Donegal

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When an ocean separates the two halves of your whole, it's worthy of contemplation. For Irish-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter Ben Glover, that consideration comes in the form of his new album, The Emigrant, which folds his two worlds into one.

Co-produced by Glover and Neilson Hubbard, the album features six traditional folk songs and four original compositions (including co-writes with Gretchen Peters, Mary Gauthier, and Tony Kerr) as Glover addresses the universal theme and personal challenge that is immigration. Though that hot topic lies at the heart of this pseudo-concept album, The Emigrant also concerns itself with how we deal with change, loss, and hope, as well as how we ultimately survive when faced with the trials and tribulations of life.

“Over the past couple of years, I have been going through the process of getting my U.S. Green Card, so the reality of immigration was very present in my world,” Glover says. Not only did he have to slice through web of bureaucratic issues, he also found himself face-to-face with the bigger questions posed by the process. “Contemplations like 'What and where is home?' were never far from my thoughts,” he adds.

To work through it all, Glover turned to music. “Around the same time, my interest in Irish roots music and folk ballads was rekindled. My head and heart were back in that musical world. Having to deal with the issues of immigration while going back to the music I grew up playing is how this record was born. The project is my story — it’s who I am at this time in my life,” he explains.

Much like his current life, Glover's childhood in the sleepy seaside village of Glenarm in the north of Ireland had a soundtrack from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. So, when he started playing gigs in the local pub at the age of 13, he played Irish music, of course, but he also slipped in songs from Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. In the summers of his university years, Glover paid his way across the pond by performing Irish folk ballads along with the songs of Christy Moore and the Pogues in the bars in Boston, while back home in the pubs of Ireland he was singing Dylan and Springsteen.
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