Ben Caplan is one of Hamilton’s most charming exports.  I did an interview with him last year, and I was so excited to see that he was coming back to play in Hamilton again.

Coming off a string of sold out shows, Ben is returning to his hometown to play This Ain’t Hollywood. Starting out East and heading to Ontario, Ben has sold out close to 10 shows. One was during the intense snow storm Montreal faced a few weeks ago. Impressive.

Ben Caplan is as loved in Halifax as he is here; he won the Hamilton Music Award for “Roots Recording of the Year” in 2012, and he is currently nominated for two East Coast music awards. Ben is also consider an ‘unofficial ambassador to Halifax’.

I caught up with a sick Ben Caplan to talk about his successful tour, Hamilton,  and his plans for the future.

Ben! You sound sick, are you alright?
Yes, I’ve been fighting off a cold.  I’ve been on tea, water, and just trying to stay quiet to preserve my voice.

Your tour has gone well so far, you’ve sold out 5 shows in a row. What is that like?
It’s been amazing to get the support like that.  My show last night in Montreal sold out during a blizzard. People rock for coming out.

What was it like being in Montreal during a storm?
It was ok. The worst part was dealing with aggressive Quebec drivers, who can be tough even in perfect weather.

What are your touring plans for 2013?
I’m doing this Canadian tour that I’m on now. Later in the year I am playing the SXSW music festival, I’m touring in Australia and in Europe. I’ve never played in Australia, so I am excited to get down there.

I know that you are really loved in Europe, which countries will you be playing this time around?
I love Europe! This time I am playing the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and a few more.

Do you have any plans to record a new album in 2013?
Yes, I do. I have been writing new songs and testing them out during this tour. Hopefully I can hit the studio in May to record.

We are very excited to have you back in, Hamilton. You won a Hamilton music award this past year, and you are now nominated for two East Coast music awards. Some even call you the ‘unofficial ambassador of Halifax’. What is it like to be so well accepted in your new home town?
It’s been wonderful. I moved to the east coast in 2005 for university and I just fell in love and realized that I wanted to stay there. Some say that the east coast, and Halifax in particular, can be pretty insular, so it means so much to be to be accepted and welcomed the way that I’ve been. I love it out there.

What did you study in University?
History and Philosophy. It’s definitely come in handy with my song writing. I find that it’s given me a wider cultural context and a different perspective on the world.

When were you in Hamilton last?
Last month, after my show in Toronto I stopped into Hamilton.

Where was your fist kiss?
It was during summer camp, when I was 8, up north somewhere.

Which High School did you attend?
I went to Westdale.

Where did you like to hang out the most while you were living in Hamilton?
I loved Highland Park and Churchill park a lot when I was younger.

Who are your favourite Hamilton based musicians, or bands?
There are a lot. I love Tom Wilson and consider him a great Hamilton ambassador. I also really love Steve McKay and the Bruce Peninsula  I’m a huge fan of Wax Mannequin, too.

When was the last time you were completely beardless?
About 4 years ago. I shaved off my beard just to see my face. It was good to see my face, it’s a good looking face. I did feel compelled to grow it back, however.

Maybe you didn’t choose the beard, the beard chose you?
Yes. Definitely.

Thanks, Ben!