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4th annual Tulsa Roots Rocks the Green
Ben Miller Band
Sunday, September 6, 2015 | 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Since its formation in 2004, this Joplin, Missouri trio has been channeling a century’s worth of wide-ranging influences (ages-old echoes of bluegrass, delta blues, Appalachian mountain music, barnburners and ballads ) into music that’s wholly contemporary, melodically catchy, and lyrically resonant—a singular stew they lovingly call “ozark stomp.” The band’s homespun, self-reliant approach extends to their lo-tech, largely self-built instruments: singer-songwriter Ben Miller’s thrift-shop guitars and banjos, bassist Scott Leeper’s one-string washtub bass (basically a Weedeater string attached to a wooden pole), and Doug Dicharry’s varied arsenal of trombone, trumpet, mandolin, electric washboard and electric spoons. The trio has mastered the technical challenges of their unconventional axes and offbeat instrumentation to produce a uniquely evocative ensemble sound that offers a compelling frame for Miller’s compositions.
“What I really care about is songs, and the rest of it is just a vehicle to get you to that destination,” Miller says. “Just because we use junk to make music doesn’t mean we aren’t serious about it. The instruments we use were originally born out of necessity, because we didn’t have any money. People would give us their old gear that didn’t work anymore, and we’d wire things together and try things out in different permutations and see where it led us. Through a lot of trial and error, we arrived at the set up that we’ve got now. Blazing your own trail through the jungle can take a lot of extra time and effort, but it gives you a chance to end up in a place that nobody’s been to before.” The band’s latest release is With Any Way, Shape or Form on New West Records.