Taking cues from 60s and 70s musical influences such as John Prine, Leonard Cohen, Warren Zevon, Todd Snider, Willie Nelson, and even Prince, Toledo native Ben Stalets addresses the thorns in his side on new record, Everybody’s Laughing, both personal and worldly. The songs were not written with an overarching theme in mind, but when it came time for the album art concept, it was the “cult leader” vibe that gave him a sense of what the underlying vision is:
Collective suffering allows us to collectively suffer less.
The album is a reference to a quote from Mark Twain’s social commentary book, Following the Equator: “The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven.”
“The way I look at it,” says Stalets, “everybody is laughing, which means everyone is suffering— we’re all in this together.”