I began writing songs in 1988 but didn't get around to releasing my debut album, "The Present Plays" until 2005. With a dozen years of songwriting behind me, I had a lot of music to consider. Some of the stuff I wrote for bygone bands was pretty slick, but a debut record is necessarily a moment captured in time. I decided to use songs in my current repertoire. The process of looking backwards to create something new began filling the project with a sense of nostalgia and I found myself selecting (and composing) songs that consider the effect of time on relationships, and the perceived effect of relationships on time: "What's Inside" describes a tiny moment lying in bed next to your lover as she sleeps. "Orbiting" briefly narrates the billion-year journey of a shooting star. The CD's title comes from a lyric in track 2, where the narrator finds himself comforted by the feeling of loneliness: 'It doesn't hurt as much these days / when the past upon the present plays.' Focusing on my role as a songwriter, I began working in three studios with 16 great musicians from the Washington, DC music scene to bring each track to life. The result is one CD featuring several pickup bands - a bluegrass band, a roots-rock band, an acoustic pop band, and the singer-songwriter you might expect from a self-titled debut. My favorite musician on the album is my dear friend Amy J. Sullivan. We formed a band called Sugar Grove to promote the record and hone our craft. It was usually just the two of us, but sometimes other songwriters and musicians joined us and we had a great time. (Amy now leads a band called The Whiskey Darlings.) I moved to the SF Bay area in 2007 and I'm now performing in another acoustic duo, The Courtney Janes. Describing myself as "a Virginian songwriter in California," I try to bring a little bluegrass and southern harmony to our sound. I recorded my second album, 'Keepin' it Reel' as a collaboration with Dennis Haneda. Happy Listening! -Ben ------------- Awards and Recognition for Ben Hulan and THE PRESENT PLAYS: Live performances of Ben's song, 'Poor Boy' won Best Song in the West Coast Songwriter's Sonoma County Open Mic, July, 2006. (NOTE: You can hear "Poor Boy" on the new album by The Courtney Janes!) Ben Hulan was nominated to be BEST NEW ARTIST by the Washington (DC) Area Music Association 'WAMMIE' awards, 2005. 'The Thief of Baghdad' (recorded for this album but excluded from the final cut) won 4th place in the Social/Political category of the Unisong International Songwriting Contest, 2004. 'Saturday Time' won Honorable Mention in the Adult Contemporary category of the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest, 2004. (I don't think of myself as adult OR contemporary, but I'll TAKE IT!) A demo recording of 'Riptide' won an Honor Award in the Folk category of The Great American Song Contest, 2003. A demo of 'Orbiting' can also be heard as the first track of the compilation album, 'Focus Presents: Capital Acoustics, Vol. 3'. 20 songs from 20 DC-area songwriters.