Ben Ottewell: Live from the Red Room @ Cafe 939, Wednesday, Sep 20 at 8:00 pm on birnCORE

Ben Ottewell is a singer-songwriter from Chesterfield, England, and former member of the band Gomez.

“It was going to be called Bones That Catch the Light,” Ottewell said of his third solo album, “but when I mentioned that to friends they either sniggered like Beavis and Butthead or thought it was too wordy.” In the end, the Derbyshire-raised singer-songwriter opted for A Man Apart, a title with a pleasing ambiguity.“It could refer to my solo career away from Gomez, or to the crazy populist politics demagogues and thugs that seem to rule our world right now,” he explained. “Or it could simply refer to a broken man; someone who has fallen apart.”

Given that Ottewell turned 40 last summer, and knowing that next year marks the 20th anniversary of Gomez’s Mercury Music Prize–winning debut Bring It On, it was perhaps inevitable that his latest record was preceded by a fair amount of stock-taking and personal reflection. Demonstrating Ottewell’s potent and ongoing love-affair with Americana, and flecked with trace elements of what might loosely be called Derbyshire folk, A Man Apart is the first solo album he has made without a Gomez project lurking in the background. As such, he said, the process was both liberating and ever so slightly daunting.

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