Artist of dreams



Ben Schneider, creator of wonders, in very fitting image.

There is no way to put into words the manifestations that music can bring to one’s mind and heart. It takes much searching to find a collection of sounds; a colossal piece of art that can turn the huge universe into a graspable world that becomes a living thing in one’s mind.

Finding the music that lifts you up and lets you see over things you couldn’t see (or hear) before, is what people like myself live for. Not long ago last year, a good friend who knows me well came across a song that they were compelled to show me. I now see how small frames of life like this play a much bigger role in ourselves than we may initially realize. What I then found was a record called Lonesome Dreams, by Lord Huron.

The man behind the treasure, Ben Schneider was born and raised in Okemos, Michigan, an hour or so from Lake Huron. He grew up as an artist on multiple planes; as a visual artist and a musician.

He spent time in France and New York, and in 2005, Schneider moved to Los Angeles to pursue a girl, and a career in the visual arts. Music was always part of his daily life, but it wasn’t until a few years being way out west when his other art form became his concentration.

After five years of living what must have been an adventure of a life, in 2010, Ben started Lord Huron as a solo project in LA. He worked there on painting, and song writing. He created a realm of art, but still needed to figure out how it all fit together.

He went back to his home in Michigan, and lived on the shores of the lake for a week. On the shores of Lake Huron, Schneider recorded the three songs that would become Lord Huron’s first recorded work – the Into the Sun EP. He left with a new found direction; a culmination of ideas that gave him what he needed to start the journey of the forming the mythology of the band.

Schneider then recruited friends that he’d known since childhood. Ben recruited three friends, all Michigan natives:  percussion artist/vocalist Mark Barry, bassist/multi-percussionist Miguel Briseno, and guitarist/vocalist Tom Renaud.

Schneider then released his Into the Sun EP online, and by handing out some physical copies along with the artwork he had been working on to illustrate the music. His work got some attention online, and the dispersion of the EP helped him recruit other musicians so he could take his music to a live performance. The beautifully layered instruments and vocals means that replicating the immense combination of sounds is difficult to do live. Bassist Miguel Briseno also does percussion, while percussionist Mark Barry sits behind the band, and provides the vital role as leader in the show. Barry will have a full drum kit for full shows, but for acoustic performances and sessions he will use a large suitcase as a kick drum, with all the other accessory instruments that you could imagine. The simplest of objects find a way to coalesce in rhythms that carry Schneider’s dreamlike progressions perfectly.

Ends of the Earth is the first track on the album, and the first song of theirs that I heard. This was the catalyst that that brought me to a state of feeling like I was looking at start from a mountain (a very good feeling). One song led me to nine more tracks that found a way to both individually, and as a whole, leave me filled with wonder.

The Lonesome Dreams record paints a tranquil journey that runs through mountains, deserts, treetops, and the stars. Its mellow colors somehow form an ambient entity that resonates with a person on in powerful ways.

Ben Schneider gives credit to a man named George Ranger Johnson for detailing the fictional western tales that inspire the songs on the album. Schneider painted the album artwork himself, and created a wide range of other visual arrangements for the listener’s eye. A story unfolds about the author of these western adventures, that shows the series of novels released in the later 1900’s, and their meaning toward Schneider’s big picture. The website that Ben created for the band is home to all the music videos, in which the band members themselves play the characters in the Mythical Author’s books. A look at Johnson and a list of works is on the Lord Huron website – a great place to get a good glimpse of the Lonesome Dreams journey. Although in my experience I have come to find that a good drive is an even better way to experience the songs.

Genres barely tell me anything about music anymore, but I’d describe LH as atmospheric folk-rock for those who wonder. The soothing vibe is one that is suitable for any setting, and almost every kind of personality or mood.

A goal of Ben’s is “creating a rich world that you can inhabit”, through his music. Listening to and seeing the amazing piece of art that Schneider created with a band, is an experience that will confirm the wanderer’s dream world that contains the intriguing sights and sounds of Lord Huron.