Romantica. No Way.

2004_05_01 romantica.jpgThat’s what I said when the music started playing. The sound was amazing, better than I expected. But the vocals made my jaw drop. That sounds like Ben Kyle, doesn’t it? I know that guy!

Steve Knight mentioned going to see the band Romantica when he came to town, and his fawning over the band and the fact that you can listen to their CD online prompted me to head over to the site and check them out.

From the first word of the first song I knew I recognized that voice. Could that be Ben Kyle? But this sounds amazing. This sounds like a full-blown, record-signed, professional band. Not that I don’t think Ben’s capable of that, but when did that happen?

Maybe you need a little background to be as blown away as I am. I went to college with Ben Kyle. He was the cool artsy, musical guy from Ireland. He had dreadlocks and an Irish accent. He teamed up with Luke Jacobs and they played some amazing acoustic folk music. We had them on our radio show, Mission Control, multiple times. In fact, I’ve got a few tapes of those performances and have been in the process of transferring them to my computer. Abby and I went to several Ben & Luke performances at local coffee houses.

After college I didn’t hear much about Ben Kyle anymore. I did track him down for a story about playing Irish music in pubs for I went to a show in Dinkytown and filmed his performance for the article, and one song is available on the site.

After that I never heard much about Ben Kyle. Every now and then I’d remember those accoustic songs, pull out my Mission Control tapes and hear them again. Occasionally I’d Google “Ben Kyle,” wondering what he was up to. I never did find him.

I guess that’s why it’s such an amazing, drop-what-I’m-doing, fawn-like-a-fan-boy thing. I didn’t expect to hear Ben singing, see Ben and Luke’s names and pictures on the site. I always thought Ben and Luke should plunge headlong into the music biz. Maybe that’s just me wanting to hear more of the local music I loved, but I always thought they’d go far. And maybe they’re not far yet. They’re a local band on a local label, but they have an amazing CD and are being reviewed in City Pages. It’s a start.

8 thoughts on “Romantica. No Way.”

  1. I saw Ben and Luke last Tuesday, they were compiling an extensive guest list for their show at First Ave (I think) last Thursday. Alas I wasn’t gonna be in town. I offered to pitch the show if they ever came to Seattle though….

  2. Sweet!!!

    Man, I feel the same way you do, Kevin. I had always hoped that Ben would go far, and I thought Luke would too.

    See, now you’ve gotta give me those Mission Control recordings of them. I would love to hear them again.

    Another cool part is that now I can recall that Luke played two instruments (guitar and upright bass) on Turn Off (my only recorded song) and it will actually mean something to Romantica fans. :-)

  3. Thanks for posting this Kevin. I had googled for these guys yearly for the past several years and wondered if they just moved on to other things in life. My favorite chapels were when we did department chapels and Ben would bring his guitar & sit in the back and just start singing some random beautiful song I had never heard before. He is truly unique. So, I ordered their album & am really pumped to hear it! Hopefully they’ll have a show in town somewhere next time we come back so we can show some support. Or…who knows…maybe they’ll come to the bay area to play sometime! They could sleep in our spare room if they’re too cheap/starving-musicianish to get a hotel.

  4. Speaking of missing musicians…have you heard anything of where Nate Stromberg &/or Ethan’s Well is today? Nate subbed at Centennial a bunch of times when the Art folks were sick when I worked there 2 years ago. I know he got married & landed a job teaching Art at Minnehaha Academy (I think), it’s a Christian school. Anyhoo…do you know if his talent is being put to some use these days?

  5. I’m not sure if this thread is dead or alive or asleep, and I don’t know if I’d ever be able to find this site again even if it was alive or awake or…

    On behalf of Romantica, I just wanted to say thankyou for the flattering comments.

    Josh I definately remember recording with you in your dorm room.

    Kev, if you’re going to try to smoke cigarettes, might I recommend American Spirits.

    Steph, i don’t know who you are… at least I can’t picture you.

    Jeremy, I just realized who you are. It’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon. Which way to Seattle.

    Goodnight friends,


  6. Free Romantica Show @ the Fine Line

    Twin Cities alt-rock band Romantica will be playing at the Fine Line tonight. You can get free tickets (PDF) through their web site. They’re an up-and-coming band worth checking out. I’ve thought so since following two-thirds of the band around…

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