Between working as a professional 3D artist, being a painter and performing at jazz clubs all over Michigan, Ben Sharkey found the time in his busy schedule to record his very first album, Day Into Night. And while his crooning has been well-received by audiences at countless local venues, his particular genre often has difficulty translating offstage. The album opens on a very upbeat, catchy note, and is exactly what you'd expect to hear at a jazz club or piano bar. With song titles like "If You're The One" and "You Did This To Me," you can guess that his romantic lyrics are heartfelt (so much that they come across even a little corny at times). The instrumentals are often similar to those of a Harry Connick, Jr. song, with fancy piano work and a strong bass that give the record a soulful sound. In fact, the instrumentation on the album is fantastic, and is one of the strongest qualities to the album. And though I found the songs sometimes boring, I have to admit they were relaxing and universally easy to listen and move to. And as you near the end of the album, you'll begin to hear some familiar songs – a cover of "Billie Jean" (which doesn't work all the way through, and at times sounds slightly awkward when adapted as a funky jazz tune) and the quintessential jazz song, "Sway" (which Sharkey does an admirable job on). So, what makes this album stand out among others in its genre? I felt like I'd heard this album before, and when you consider that Sharkey's being compared to greats like Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra – those are some pretty flattering compliments for a local musician!
Worth a Listen: "Sway"