Ben O’Neill Creates ‘Oh Yeah Cool’ Music Series In Response to COVID-19

Posted Jun 18, 2020


A collaborative music and photography series created remotely in response to the global pandemic, the 'Oh Yeah Cool' series features improvisational music by PRS artist and John Legend guitarist Ben O’Neill, presented with images from photographers currently living in Manhattan, Jersey City, and Philadelphia. The photographs tell stories of the vacillating emotional states caused by Covid-19, including photos from March 2020, just as the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic.

All pieces were recorded with PRS guitars - Ben used the Silver Sky, Custom 24 and Mira for the various improvisations.

Ben O’Neill has studied and created a remarkable breadth of music. From solo indie-folk and rock records to his soulful jazz trio, touring with iconic artists (John Legend, Jill Scott), writing for acclaimed singers (Bilal, Laurin Talese) and teaching at The University of the Arts, Ben has melded influences, gathered experiences, and created a voice of his own.

In Ungoverned Transformation, Ben used his voice on guitar to construct improvisations ignited by ten photographs related to the quarantine period of 2020. Drawing as much inspiration from the hymns of American gospel as the musings of French surrealist composer Erik Satie, the works embody reflectivity and eeriness, cacophony and calm. The ten pieces were created and recorded in a burst, over two days.

Oh Yeah Cool is an art collective and film company that searches for beauty in the prosaic, while maintaining conviction to hold space for opposites. Led by director and photographer Steven Jon, Oh Yeah Cool creates a range of expressions including observational cinema, live music performance, and short film. Contributing a few images himself, Steven Jon also curated the photographs in Ungoverned Transformation, featuring the work of Carolyn Lederach, Bob Hunter, Vita Phoenix, and Dan C. White.

Conceived as a mode of seeking kinship during a profoundly unsettling time, Ungoverned Transformation has morphed into a way to provide some support to the most vulnerable among us.

All proceeds from direct sales on Bandcamp will be donated to Broad Street Ministry, a progressive faith community in Philadelphia that provides meals as well as medical, behavioral health, and reentry services for those in need.