If aliens came to earth, Izzy Heltai would describe his debut album, Father, to them this way: “There are frequencies that are going to feel like clanking, that maybe you’ll enjoy sonically. There are words strung together to sound nice. They are about an important human trajectory when one goes from a child to a slightly more serious child called an adult.”
His new music is the product and reflection of the broad spectrum of music Izzy enjoys listening to. From his love of pop, analog electronic, to country, Izzy loves blending elements of genres to create his own unique take on what a folk song is.
The child of two mathematicians, Izzy showed little interest in numbers, science, or academia. Luckily, his parents adjusted. His mom took him to lilac festivals, ballets, and Newport Folk Festival back when kids tickets were $20.
Izzy’s mother is Italian; she loves opera and 60’s female folk singers. His father is Hungarian; and Izzy still isn’t really sure what he does for work. His sister is a socialist who works for Haymarket books, which has quite a Twitter presence.
When asked to summarize his style in three words, Izzy responded “everyday queer trash.” He has tattoos, a pierced ear, a pretty shitty mustache, and bleach blond tips. He cuffs his pants, and wears his t-shirts tucked into his light wash jeans. But he believes he leads a moral life over an aesthetic life. When asked if he would give his life for all of the art in the Met, he said no. When asked if he would give his life for other people, he said yes.
Izzy works primarily in his friend Andy Cass’s studio in Williamsburg, MA, where he recorded the entirety of his debut album Father and his new singles. Izzy plays acoustic guitar and sings on his recordings. He is joined by Garrett Salazar on drums, Andy Cass on bass, and Micah Katz-Zeiger on everything else. Izzy’s producer, Max Shakun (Parsonsfield), lovingly coins Micah as their swiss army knife, “because he plays literally everything else”. Since Father was released in September 2020, Izzy has moved from a folk sound to a blend of pop, indie, and classic rock.
He resides in a valley, in western Massachusetts, in a town called Easthampton. He lives alone, and is not in a relationship. He loves biking and most of his time is focused on work and making drum loops in his bedroom.
“Ben Bedford has proven himself to be a truly inspired and talented storyteller…” according to Arthur Wood (Maverick). Bedford establishes himself as a songwriter in the tradition of musical icons ranging from Bill Morrissey to Woody Guthrie, casting individual people in the theater of the American landscape. A true son of the heartland, Bedford dips into the deep inkwell of classic American literature and writes with the ‘old soul’ quality of his literary idols, such as John Steinbeck and Toni Morrison.
In the past twelve years since the release of his first album, Bedford has played his songs for audiences all over the United States hitting notable venues such as The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Folkstage in Chicago, and the Fayetteville Roots Festival in Fayetteville, Arkansas. His music has received extensive airplay on folk and roots radio in the U.S., as well as in Europe, taking him overseas on several occasions for concert dates on the continent and in the United Kingdom. Notable dates there include Izzy Young’s famed Folklore Centrum in Stockholm, Sweden, Toogenblik in Brussells, Belgium, and The Green Note in London, England. Bedford’s albums have charted highly on the Euro Americana charts and the Folk-DJ charts and his music has been played on National Public Radio’s Car Talk and featured in The Sounding Board, the official newsletter of the renowned C.F. Martin Guitar Company.
In July of 2010, Bedford was named one of the “50 most significant Folk singer-songwriters of the past 50 years” by Rich Warren of WFMT-Chicago. The list also included Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, Anais Mitchell, Joni Mitchell, and John Prine.
In May of 2018, Bedford was named one of the six Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk winners at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas.