Saturday, July 11, 2009

Interview with Benyaro

Who: Benyaro
What: Duo acoustic roots rock band in concert
Where: The Vinyl Perk, Pocatello, ID - map
When: Wednesday, July 15, 2009, 7:00pm

I'm very eager about the music entertainment I've been seeing come through The Vinyl Perk. If you haven't picked up on this gem of a place, get over there and check it out. Benyaro is making their debut performance in the area - this might be a good opportunity to see a new place and see a new band.

I asked Ben Musser of Benyaro a few questions so we will know what to expect.

SLG: Describe your genre of music in as much detail as you like. Maybe list your three best crowd-pleasing songs? Can you explain in what way do you most appeal to your fans?

BM: Acoustic soul and roots music. Our crowd pleasing songs are "Feelin’ Low," "Cutting Words," and "Bullet-Like Belief."

Fans seem to be attracted to the emotion that comes through the vocals. They are also attracted to the amount of sound and music that comes from just two performers. We play nylon string guitar, upright bass, bass drum, hi-hat, shaker, harmonica, tambourine, and sing with two voices, all at the same time. Lastly, they enjoy the songs.

SLG: Who's in the band? And who's touring with you? How long has this line-up been together?

BM: On tour:
Ben Musser – lead vocals, nylon string and steel string guitars, bass drum, shaker, and harmonica
Bobby McCullough – harmony vocals, upright bass, hi-hat, and tambourine

Not on tour:
Meg (Musser) Chamberlin - harmony and lead vocals, percussion

Benyaro was born in 2005 with another bassist. Bobby joined me (Ben) and my sister in December of 2008. Meg and I have been performing for years together, but again, Benyaro came about in 2005.

SLG: Tell us where you're from and currently based in what town?

MG: Benyaro is out of New York, NY but has recently been spending more time in Jackson, WY.

SLG: Nice! Past shows or venues you'd like to brag about? Past or future shows in the Pocatello area?

Benyaro performed at the Avett Brothers (Concord, North Carolina) after-show at The Pageant in St. Louis, MO this past Thursday night. We had the openers, Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers, up on stage with us by the end of the show, to sing some tunes. It was a hoot.

We have also opened for legendary folk icon, Malcolm Holcombe in NYC, Boston, and Johnson City, TN.

We will be performing at the Portneuf Valley Brewery on August 1.

SLG: Super. I'll put it on the calendar. Describe this particular show at the Vinyl Perk. What can ppl expect if they come to this show?

BM: The show at Vinyl Perk should be an intimate one. We have never been, nor have we ever been to the wonderful town of Pocatello. If folks choose to come hear us, they’ll hear a unique style of acoustic music…acoustic soul. They’ll get a kick out of seeing us playing all these instruments at the same time and dig the full sound that comes from a duo. We are the only band on the bill that night.

The Vinyl Perk is a coffee house with a most impressive vinyl record collection. The business is open to all ages; music entertainment is free.

SLG: Any comments about the local live music scene, the music industry in general? What do you think is the best way to get your music out there?

BM: The music industry is hurting. I hope and think that independent artists and small labels are going to help to rebuild a music industry that focuses on the art itself and not just appealing to the masses. This will be better for the listener as they will and now have so many groups to choose from. It will be competitive for the artists, but hopefully the best music will rise to the top.

As far as getting one’s music out there; touring, playing subway platforms, street corners, using the many internet mediums to share one’s music, even giving away CDs. There are so many avenues.

SLG: Do you have any videos on YouTube?

Cutting Words - Benyaro @ The Evening Muse
Benyaro and Samantha Crain & the Midnight Shivers singing The Avett Brothers Paranoia

SLG: Recordings? Will you have CD's or more for sale at the show?

BM: Benyaro (self-released debut album) – 9 tracks - #162 on the National CMJ Top 200 in February 2009. It will be available at the Vinyl Perk show and is available at

SLG: How can fans contact you? Myspace? or another website?

BM: Myspace is the best way. Facebook is also an option!

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