Ben Folds is a singer-songwriter from North Carolina.

He was the frontman and pianist of the alternative rock trio Ben Folds Five.

Ben Folds’ masterful new What Matters Most solo collection is less a statement than it is an offering—an open hand reaching out to all those wounded and bewildered by a world that seems to make less and less sense every day.

Recorded in East Nashville with co-producer Joe Pisapia, the album marks Folds’ first new studio release in eight years. It’s a bold, timely, cinematic work, examining the tragic and the absurd in equal measure as it reckons with hope and despair, gratitude and loss, identity and perspective. The songs are bittersweet, hilarious at times, but often laced with a quiet sense of longing and dread: a text message goes unanswered; an old classmate descends into the dark depths of internet conspiracies; a relationship unravels in the middle of a lake.

Yet taken as a whole, the result is an undeniably joyful record that refuses to succumb to the weight of the world around it—an ecstatic reminder of all the beauty and promise hiding in plain sight for anyone willing and present enough to recognize their moments as they arrive. Folds ultimately isn’t interested in simply lamenting the flaws of our times, but rather in finding ways to still connect to the magic and wonder of being alive, no matter what the world may throw at us.


Recognized nationally for the high quality of its concerts and educational programs, the Grand Rapids Symphony has been an important cultural resource in Grand Rapids and the West Michigan community for almost a century.

Ben Folds playing in Detroit (awesome photo by Detroit’s own Joe Vaughn)

What:          Ben Folds with Grand Rapids Symphony

When:         Thursday, July 20, 2023

Where:        Meijer Gardens Amphitheater (1000 E. Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI)

Time:          7:30 p.m. – 9:45 p.m.

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