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Ben Andrews

   Ben Andrews
Ben Andrews At The Bullfrog 2002
Photo - John Roberts
Ben Andrews plays with devastating ability with guitar licks of great complexity, close to the origins of delta blues.He's blessed with a rich voice and an encyclopedic knowledge of the music and the musicians who have left their legacy for us all to enjoy. His stories about Huddie Leadbetter, Blind Lemon Jefferson, stories about Willie McTell & Reverend Gary Davies.are almost as good as the songs.

Born in Yugoslavia and adopted by American parents, Ben Andrews was attracted to the guitar as a child. In the late '60s, he began studying classical guitar but his interest waned until his parents returned to the United States in 1972.

"I had been exposed to the Beatles and Creedence before that," Andrews recalls, "but when I came back I immediately found that what I really liked was folk music and blues... I've always looked at it as the foundation of today's music, and I found I could adapt to it easily because my fingers had been trained classically."

While attending high school in New England, Ben Andrews was exposed to a lot of folk and blues music at various festivals, drawing inspiration from younger players like Roy Bookbinder and John Hammond as well as the old masters.

Ben started his journey to delta blues in the dives and clubs of Washington DC playing electric guitar in a band where he shared the stage with such great names as Muddy Waters, Robert "Junior" Lockwood and Bo Diddley. It didn't take Andrews long, though, to notice that the competition was stiff. "There are literally thousands of good guitarists out there, so I thought, why try to do the impossible?" he says, "So I began to build up a strong repertoire of country blues - I found that there was something mystical about playing this music alone on stage".

Ben Andrews  
Ben Andrews At The Bullfrog 2002
Photo - John Roberts
For all his devotion to unvarnished country blues and the highly syncopated music of Blind Willie McTell and The Rev. Gary Davis, Andrews does have a more progressive side. The title track of his debut album, "Night Ride," is a moody, richly textured piece that recalls some of the more contemporary work of John Fahey, Leo Kottke and Ry Cooder. Like much of Cooder's music, "Night Ride" seems well suited to film sound tracks, an area that has always intrigued Andrews.

"Cooder is so good I can't really listen to him anymore," he says half jokingly. "I'm afraid he'll influence me too much if I do."

At last year's top U.K blues festival, Bishopstock, Ben Andrews had reached his rightful place - centre stage on the Bank Holiday Monday. After a superb set, all his CD's went within twenty minutes, and the crowd waited patiently for upwards of ninety minutes to have covers, programmes and memorabilia signed. The organisers stated that they had never had that scale of reaction in Bishopstock's history.....

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