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Ben Sharkey at the Garden Theatre, 4 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Friday, September 14, 2018

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Ben Sharkey doesn't take making music lightly.

The Royal Oak singer spent four years making his new "Mercury Rising," which comes out this week. The upbeat and polished 11-song set has plenty of the throwback, martini-and-cigar crooning Sharkey is known for, but it also finds him stretching beyond, incorporating elements of rock, Latin and even EDM with the help of producer Bryan Reilly and primary musical collaborator Chris Codish.

All told, "Mercury Rising" takes Sharkey's music a few steps forward and makes another case for him as a potent voice, seamlessly blending classic and contemporary conventions into something genuinely distinctive...

Sharkey, 38, says "Mercury Rising," his sophomore effort, was originally intended to be a 1920s-style swing record. "Then something just flowed into the next kind of thing where we put some funk with some of the 1920s stuff and explored that," notes Sharkey, who recorded the album at the 45 Factory in Waterford. "And then some of the percussion led into a Latin kind of feeling and it just kind of evolved."

EDM, meanwhile, makes an appearance on a couple of the songs, including the title track. "That's more house-y, more modern," Sharkey acknowledges. It could be played in a club, where my previous tuff had been more, like, a band sound, swing, that kind of thing, complete throwback. This is more progressive."

Nevertheless, Sharkey says "Mercury Rising's" diversity was a comfortable evolution. "It wasn't super hard. It just kind of laid in there. I worked with the same people on about 80 percent of the record, and I think we all had a similar kind of vibe that made it more coherent."

Sharkey is launching "Mercury Rising" with a special concert on Thursday, Sept. 13, that features an 11-piece band, backup singers and six dancers, as well as a stage constructed especially for the show. "It's definitely the biggest production I've ever done," Sharkey notes. "That's just the direction I want to go in. I want to do more, bigger entertainment shows, so it's just about getting to that point. I've done a lot with horns before, but I'd like to have some stable thing happening all the time with dancers and backup singers and make it more of an entertainment thing that maybe people would come from out of town to see or regulars would come to see all the time. I'd like to bring that kind of entertainment to Detroit.

Ben Sharkey celebrates the release of his new album, "Mercury Rising," on Thursday, Sept. 13, at the Garden Theatre, 3919 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Sean Blackman opens and DJ Captn20 spins after the show. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 general admission, $70 VIP. Call 313-832-0888 or visit BenSharkey.com.

Web Site: www.BenSharkey.com

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