Ben LaMar Gay's critically-lauded 2018 break out Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun was more like a greatest hits than a debut album, as it compiled the best of the prolific but obscurity-prone Chicago native artist’s previously unreleased music. Open Arms to Open Us will be the first release of brand new, freshly baked tunes by Gay, a collection recorded entirely at International Anthem studios in Chicago between March-June 2021.
He is an artist that has been called “visionary” by the New York Times. Jeff Parker has called him “one of my favorite musicians on the planet today.” NPR says “there is no one universefor Ben LaMar Gay, he just sonic booms from one sound to another.” Gay lives up to all these statements and more, putting all his best feet forward on this new album. Fluently interweaving jazz, blues, ballads, R&B, raga, new music, nursery rhyme, Tropicalia, two-step,hip-hop and beyond in his most colorful and communicable work yet, it's a beaming expression of Gay’s signature omni-genre, “Pan-Americana” brew.
Featured artists on the album include: OHMME singers Sima Cunningham and MacieStewart, bassist/vocalist/arranger Ayanna Woods, multi-disciplinary Rwandan artistDorothée Munyaneza, poet A.Martinez, cellist Tomeka Reid, and vocalists Onye Ozuzu,Gira Dahnee, and Angel Bat Dawid.