Benjamin Dean Wilson’s newest single, ‘The Smartest Person in the Room’, opens with a compelling swirl of the fiddle. Its warm, full sound may indicate that more of the type of chestnut folk or bluegrass music that you’ve grown up with is on its way. Yet, from the moment Wilson opens his mouth, you know that you’re in for an idiosyncratic sort of experience. This isn’t to say it’s bad, either, but that the unexpected and off-kilter, in this case, comes across as a pleasant surprise.
There’s a clockwork drone to the song’s progression that, paired with Wilson’s faux-slipshod vocal delivery, makes for quite the engulfing experience straight out of the bag. There’s no getting away from it, essentially—the fabric of which Wilson’s artistic blanket is woven with is as weird as it is wonderful. He’s an off-the-beaten-path type for certain, but not one to design banal compositions either. From the music he makes to the persona he’s crafted, Wilson’s artistry is chockful of lax sardonicism while still retaining a sense of urgency.
It’s when we learn of Wilson’s background that more of the ‘how’ behind his artistic development comes into view. He wasn’t borne from the same cloth as any conventional musician, but instead began his career in the arts as a commercial camera assistant. The cinematic nature of his push ahead on ‘The Smartest Person in the Room’ is a great taste of where he’s been, where he’s at, and where he’s going. If you like what you hear, too, his album of the same name has just recently seen release.