Every year I spend in The Field, new characters enter my life…sometimes causing heartache, but more often to enrich…
And who better to express such emotions than an esteemed music lover and bluesman, Mr. Ben “The Harpman” Cox. What Ben has lost in musical knowledge and exploration, I could only hope to gain over the course of a lifetime. He considers himself a critical purveyor of blues, classic R&B, and southern soul/roots sounds. About as close as I get to that particular genre realm is Zeppelin, which provides little justice in comparison. So, you can imagine how tickled my heart pattered when he wrote up an enthusiastically positive critique on Metallica’s Master of Puppets! After all, Ben is first, and foremost, a lover of music, including thrash era Metallica. Someday, he’ll finish the legendary “Ben’s 500 Album Countdown” on his WordPress blog BANDBANDP.
Ben’s sojurn through the Blues scene of Central Illinois territory begins in 2002 at the legendary Canopy Club of Urbana, Illinois, local music hotspot visited by campus dwellers, townies, and Chambana visitors alike. I would know. I used to be a campus dweller. He met a local band called The Kilborn Alley Blues Band who hosted jams on Sunday nights. He made friends with the group quickly and traveled with them regionally. Soon, he learned to play harmonica and improvised lyrics during show. Upon leaving Chambana for Jacksonville, Illinois in 2004, he entrusted some original songs with Kilborn Alley, one of which, “Soldier Blues,” appeared on their first internationally-renowned release Put It In the Alley for Blue Bella Records in 2006.
In 2005, Ben self-produced, replicated, manufactured and released a live album called Room Painted Blue. The songs were arranged and recorded in front of an audience knowing little about him. His talent and passion proved enough to grow a small following and spark new friendships. Since then, he put his own music on hold to focus on journalism, his day job, and family. He’s finally making some time for himself by producing his own album–RAW.
I’m going to go where the music is going to take me. I sincerely believe that this will be the best music that I will ever have the opportunity to release.
Please consider donating to Ben’s GoFundMe for his new album. He offers Reward levels from a $10 Digital copy of Raw to a $1,000 Super Fan where you get just about anything he and his accompanying band can give.
Good Luck, Ben “The Harpman” Cox. Let your music do the talking.