It’s 4:20 p.m., Central Time, and Brendan Benson is a little nervous. He’s been practicing and is about to go live for whoever will listen. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Benson was preparing to release his seventh album, Dear Life. Instead, he’s home in Nashville, and—for just a few moments each day—he’s a “Boy in a Bubble.” Coincidentally, Benson does feel like he’s trapped in some sort of illusory, encapsulated dream, but “Boy in a Bubble” is the moniker for his Instagram Live series, an essential reprieve from the coronavirus lockdown.
“It’s something to do every day and something to prepare for,” says Benson. “A lot of times, I have to pick the song and learn it, and I get nervous, so it’s a kind of whole arc to my day. It’s a great way to break up the day and the monotony. If I didn’t have this, I think I’d be going fucking crazy.”