Listen Live Friday: The Ben Miller Band
Listen Live Friday featuring a live performance in the Stage by Ben Miller Band.
Ben Miller Band
The Ben Miller Band formed, roughly, in 2005, as a result of an open-mic night experiment gone right. Ben Miller, who grew up in rural Washington state before attending art school in Philadelphia, had been working as an open-mike night host in his adopted home of Joplin, Missouri when he met and began playing music with Doug Dicharry and Scott Leeper. Miller fronts the band on guitar (styles include both slide and fingerpicking), banjo, harmonica, and lead vocals. He's also proven to be an accomplished songwriter. Dicharry is primarily a percussionist, though he also plays trombone and mandolin. Percussion-wise he handles drums, washboard, and electric spoons. Leeper gives the band its backbone, keeping rhythm on his homemade one-string washtub bass. The bass is constructed from a weed-eater string that runs from the end of a stick that sits upon an inverted washtub, to the washtub itself, which presumably houses an elaborate pickup system that gives the instrument's deep resonant sound a lot more volume than you'd expect. Occasionally, Leeper also keeps rhythm on the side of an old-school fire bell that he's transformed into an interesting-sounding drum. Dicharry and Leeper both add backing vocals as well.
The band plays a gritty, modern mixture of various types of old American heritage music, including blues, bluegrass, folk, and country. Originally, the band members called their sound "Ozark Stomp" as a tribute to the influences from their geographical region, but now refer to it as "Mudstomp" in reference to their label, which focuses on similar music, but in a wider regional area. In 2010 the Ben Miller Band released a pair of albums on Mudstomp, 1 Ton on June 10 and 2 Ton on August 5. The albums were assembled from a huge backlog of material and were developed as they were being recorded. Aside from the closeness of release dates and titles, the only other similarity is that both albums contain 14 songs. The albums are remarkably different and punctuate the band's versatility.
The Ben Miller Band is not only curious and inventive musically, but also instrument and equipment-wise. Leeper's homemade one-string bass has been mentioned, but Miller and Dicharry have some interesting gadgets of their own. Miller sings into two microphones; one is your typical mike, while the other is the receiver from an old land-to-land telephone. The telephone mike offers a distorted sound and is run through a trunk, which Miller keeps beat on with his right foot using a drum pedal. Attached to Miller's left foot is a tambourine and he alternates between the pedal and the tambourine. Dicharry, meanwhile, has a suitcase full of distortion pedals, which he uses to great effect when playing washboard and electric spoons.
Listen Live at KDHX combines KDHX's unique multi-platform capabilities to highlight local and national musicians both on the airwaves and through live performance. This program is both an extension of and a combination of our live in-studio performances and our live concerts.
Listen Live at KDHX is an important program both for musicians and for St. Louis. By elevating the visibility of independent voices, Listen Live will celebrate the art of discovery, bolster community wellness through inclusive access to cultural enrichment, and reflect human and musical diversity.
Listen Live at KDHX features one local artist and one national artist each month. Each Listen Live event is free for all to attend and will be broadcast live on 88.1 FM.
|Event Date||11-15-2019 12:00 pm|
|Location||The Stage at KDHX|