"One of the most inventive and talented songwriters in the business today"
- Isaac Davis Jr. MBA, Editor in Chief of Junior's Cave Online Magazine


Mountain dulcimers, ukuleles, guitars, accordions, mandolins, pianos and others doing some of the things they do best: acoustic fusion with a subtle (well...) Celtic slant

The Mews album is a modern tribute to the space between Celtic folklore and Bluegrass music.  The music pays tribute to the traditional sounds of Jigs and Reels, as well as fusing different styles and taking the musical ingredients of Celtic-American folklore one step (sometimes two steps) further.  The result that you have in front of you is a collection of intriguing acoustic fusion that will delight your ears and make it almost impossible not to smile.  Have a listen.

  1. Poetry In Motion
  2. Perpetual Motion
  3. Grace
  4. The Bookmaker's Canon
  5. Brand New Day
  6. Sunday Morning Sun
  7. Heart Light Warm
  8. Blond And Black Reel
  9. Who Could Ask For Anything More
  10. Skin
  11. One Point Jig
  12. Symmetric Circles
  13. Fish Jig
  14. Big Boat
  15. Lullaby
  16. Slide Jig
  17. Little Boat
  18. Saw Jig
Recorded from June 2011 to January 2012 in Berlin.
All music written by Ben Rusch
Musicians: Ben Rusch - mountain dulcimer, ukulele, piano, guitars, bass, tin whistle, accordion, mandolin, percussion
(c) Ben Rusch, 2011-2012

Some previews for you

Poetry In Motion

Perpetual Motion

Saw Jig

Brand New Day


The Bookmaker's Canon

New sonic textures

In the eternal quest for new sonic textures, I teamed up with the one and only Gary "Wurzle" Cogg, prolific purveyor of handmade acoustic instruments, who graciously let me go to town on the prototype of his Pickin' Pedal: the three-string instrument that you see on the right.  The fret pattern is inspired by a mountain dulcimer, and it's usually tuned in D-A-D or similar. 
Its sound is strong in the high-mid frequencies and blends beautifully with Gary's handmade concert ukulele (the one on the left - photo taken in Gary's workshop) that I have been using - a stellar piece of work, with a beautifully balanced low-mid frequency body. 
You can hear the two instruments combine on the Poetry In Motion track and also on Grace, together with a larger acoustic ensemble.  The concert ukulele has a solo on the Symmetric Circles track, featuring the usual no-effects approach of recording two identical takes of the same instrumental part into the Left and Right stereo channels respectively.
Musicians based in Berlin should make a point of dropping in on Gary's workshop.  It's one of those places you leave with a warm heart and a knowing smile at the fact that you have just witnessed something truly special.  It's at Schinkestrasse 3, right next to the Schönhauser Allee station. 

A further chapter in dynamic range

Jasmine Brunch devotees (if there is such a thing) will already have noted my mild obsession with dynamic range in audio engineering - see for instance the notes on the “4” album.  In this regard, the “Mews” album introduces a slightly different spin: the tracks overall are higher in loudness since most tracks feature either (a) instruments with a naturally lower dynamic range, e.g. the accordion bass, or (b) a creative approach to recording techniques, e.g. recording one of the acoustic guitar parts less than an inch away from the microphone with extremely gentle picking, leading to longer decay times relative to the peak of the acoustic signal.  As a result, it was possible to retain the full dynamic range of all other instruments while giving the overall mix sufficient loudness.  

Easter egg

Alongside the usual musical subtlies that are just a little too subtle for people to realise, I wove a fairly obvious Discrete Shepard Scale into one of the tracks and will award a prize to the first listener to get his nerd on and spot it.  Prize ideas include a pack of smokes or a bottle of wine or a home-cooked supper, depending on who wins.


The album will be released on Magnatune in due course. In the meantime, if you want your own copy you can simply drop me an email via the contact page and we'll work it out, you and I, together.