Composer, pianist and multi-instrumentalist Ben Cosgrove is not exactly a newcomer to the world of instrumental music. His most recent disc, Yankee Division, is his eighth. It is also his first new disc in three years, making it the the longest gap in between recordings since Cosgrove began with 1998’s Best Bet Better.
As with most of his albums, Cosgrove composed, produced and performed nearly all the instruments, including but not limited to the ukelele, accordion and bowed wine glasses. The songs draw their inspiration from the Yankee Division Highway and much of the compositions are inspired to reflect movement, transition and the exuberance of transit.
The disc opens with the nocturnal “Prairie Fire,” before segueing into the sweeping and thunderous “I Am Walking Inland.” The vernal exercise “When You Are a Road,” and the achingly sweet “Nashua,” keep the disc going forward. Yankee Division threatens to dip on “From 10,000 Feet,” but makes a swift recover with the celestial and plinky “Middle Distance,” and the tender valentine “North Central.”
Other memorable cuts include the intimate and folksy Rober Frost paean “Good Fences,” the stormy and autumnal “All the Weather Ahead,” the knee-slapping title track and the stark piano-driven “I Remember When Days Like These Were Instantly Available.”
That Yankee Division sounds so flawless is certainly no surprise. The Boston native has performed regularly as a soloist and sideman and has written scores for films, plays, radio and television. To date he has shared the stage with the likes of Saint Anyway, Stealth Foxx, David Berkeley, Charlie Christos and Clint Miller.
But of course, talent like this should never stay this far under the radar. One can only hope that somewhere out there a movie producer like Bob Yari or Jon Landau is reading this. Cosgrove is more than ready to enter the world of mainstream movies and enter the consciousness of cinema savants. The truth is, Cosgrove’s talents know no bounds.