Ben Davis Jr. Turns Inward On ‘Roots’
By: Emily Votaw
Posted on:Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Ben Davis Jr. on YouTube
Ben Davis Jr. on Bandcamp
Ben Davis Jr. Official Site (Includes Calendar of Upcoming Performances)
From the moment a 14-year-old Ben Davis Jr. picked up his first guitar (a Yamaha Strat gifted by his father, for the record) he set out on a journey that would see him evolve into one of the great musical storytellers yet to emerge from his native Southeast Ohio. Ben’s honest, sharply observed, and soulful lyrics and organic yet adventurous instrumentation make for a deeply felt blend of country, folk, and rock—(in all its shapes and forms). The people, places, and memories of his home inform the heart of his forthcoming for Supersensible Records EP, Roots,.
After playing in string of local combos, Ben began immersing himself in songwriting as a member of his high school band, In The Red (formed with lifelong friend Josh Cassill). Over the years, he has played with an impressive array of regional musicians, slowly building his now impressive song catalog. His biggest songwriting inspirations come from the work of David Childers, Todd Snider, and The Avett Brothers, whose music he discovered in 2007. A high point of Ben’s career came a few years later, when he shared billing with The Avetts (along with another influence, Jason Isbell) at the 2014 Nelsonville Music Festival.
Ben’s reputation also has been burnished by both hosting and performing the Open Stage at Court Grill in Pomeroy, Ohio for several years. The friends, connections, and memories he has forged there resulted in his first two self-releases: The Day Before Payday (with the Dirt Poor Troubadours) and his first solo EP, Leaving Cincinnati.
Fast-forward to 2019, when Ben released his second full length album, Suthernahia (premiered at a live performance at the classic Markay Theater in his hometown of Jackson. Produced by Eddie Ashworth at The Oxide Shed in Athens, OH, this record breaks new ground in Ben’s music—incorporating elements of psychedelia, r&b, even 60’s era pop, to suit the diverse mood of the songs. Backed by his legendary supporting band, The Revelry, the album brought Ben to a wider audience and earned rave reviews from many media outlets.
Next on the menu is the forthcoming Roots EP. Ben has long wanted to put together a pared down, more intimate recording that puts more emphasis on his stunning song craftsmanship and voice (something that his fans have also often requested). Accordingly, the sonics and subject matter are sparse, down to basic acoustic folk instrumentation. Joined by Revelry alums Ben Ervin on guitar and Ashworth on mandolin, along with celebrated Athens-based singer songwriter Bruce Dalzell on bass and backing vocals, and longtime collaborator Chris Keesey on percussion, the EP was recorded mostly live in the studio, with minimal overdubbing, during the pandemic.
First out of the gates is a video of the title track “Roots” , in which Ben performs the song with many of the actual locations mentioned in the song as backdrops. Releasing in mid-July on all platforms, the single and video will precede the EP release, scheduled for late summer 2021. Ben will be supporting both releases with a robust, all acoustic live schedule (sometimes solo, sometimes joined by members of the recording band) throughout the summer and fall 2021.
“Simple As I Look”
“The Space You Left Behind”
HAMMER AND SPARK
WHEEL SPINNING ’ROUND
THE CORBIN MARSH BAND EP