Free at Noon Flashback: Ben Dickey brings raw energy and storytelling to World Cafe Live

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Ben Dickey | photo by Garbriela Barbieri

Ben Dickey‘s jobs over the years have ranged from Johnny Brenda’s chef to movie star, but today he appeared at World Cafe Live to do what he does best: play some songs. The former Philadelphian, current Louisianan, returned to his once-hometown this afternoon to share his new solo album, A Glimmer on the Outskirts, with the Free at Noon Crowd.

Playing solo and switching between just two guitars, Dickey packed raw energy into his storytelling songs, rendering the soft solo performance anything but sleepy. Dickey got his start in bands like Philly’s Blood Feathers,  but career-wise, things took an unexpected turn for the songwriter last year when he was convinced by friend and film director Ethan Hawke to star in the Blaze Foley biopic, Blaze. His acting debut was not only critically well-received, but the intense experience of playing the late singer-songwriter onscreen prompted Dickey to sit down and write the introspective Americana songs that appear on his new album.

Dickey’s foray into acting has left a noticeable impression on the musician. Not only has he already made a small appearance in another film, this year’s Western drama The Kid, Dickey also carries a piece of Blaze Foley with him — falling seamlessly into place alongside his own new tunes, a cover of “Sittin’ by the Road” is included on the new album, and he worked it into his set today. After highlighting some of the album’s other tracks, Dickey wrapped up his eight-song set shortly after the half hour — he has to make it to Pittsburgh in time to continue his storytelling tonight.

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