Ben Carr / Blog

The End of an Era

I first moved to Saxtons River, VT, in 2008, and almost immediately found this cool watering hole called Pleasant Valley Brewing, where husband and wife team Patrick & Jackie LeBlanc served up tasty VT drafts and a yummy pub fare menu with beefalo burgers (yeah, they were real good!).

Pretty soon there was backlash from neighbors and there were curfews enforced by the town. But that’s ok, PVB still guaranteed music 3 nights a week plus a Karaoke Night that made me *almost* appreciate it. (If you know me, you know I have a difficult time with karaoke).There’s been many waitstaff and cooks that cycled through PVB, but Patrick was always the one holding the place down determined to bring quality food, drink, and music to the community.

It didn’t take long for me to start playing gigs at PVB. First with the blues band Sunny Lowdown. Then Soul Design, which morphed into Patty and the Cakes. Mo Ambesa played a number epic gigs (I remember Patrick saying that was the first time he’s seen anyone dance to music at PVB). Then Solo ‘Ukulele gigs. Then with the Milkhouse Heaters. Then the many different formations of the Ben Carr Music Project. Then with Mas Leo. Then with Old Man Joe. Then with Robb James. Then with…. I’m know there’s one or two artists that called me up as a side man, but I just can’t remember who they are at this point. I also had the privilege of hosting the Open Mic for a year.

PVB was also responsible for setting me further down the path of my cribbage addiction. I first learned to play in 2006 and quickly learned that this place was the cribbage capital of VT (if not the world!). You were always assured a handful of games between the hours of 4-6 PM, but every so often there’d be some post gig games happening too.

Not only are we going to miss this good ol’ neighborhood Pub, but we now have a void in the S. VT music scene. People knew there was going to be good music going down at PVB as Patrick brought in the national, regional, and local talent.

A big heartfelt thanks to all who’ve been a part of Pleasant Valley Brewing, but especially to Patrick and Jackie for bringing a vibrant business to Saxtons River for the past 10 years. And Cheers! to them as they move on to new adventures.

New Album Mixes

Excited to be putting the finishing touches on the recordings I did last spring. This is going to be a solo 'ukulele album entitled, "A River's View of Sunrise." Should be ready to drop in early Nov. Woot Woot! Album artwork is in creation, and look for a crowd fund in Oct.

As 2016 begins….

I find myself in a new flurry of musical activity!!

I took the last 3-4 months of 2015 off from music work as I was building a barn our property here in VT. And now that the saw dust has settled and winter has laid her white coat upon us, I am getting back into the force that drives me.

So where do I begin…. I think the list will suffice:

1. Summer of 2015 found me in a recording session playing drums for a rock trio. Due to unfortunate circumstances, the engineer is not able to complete the mixing for this session. I volunteered to take over the mixing and production for this session and am underway, making progress, and hope to have a release in early summer.

2. Over the past 2 months I've been working on a number of solo 'ukulele tunes, as well as a series of uke duets. The past two weeks found me traveling in Chile, where I had the time to really dig into these compositions and make big progress on the work. Thoughts for a book/cd of the uke duets is in the making.

3. A solo recording session is in the plans for the next 3-4 weeks. Perhaps an EP… perhaps full album…. These details may have to be worked out once in the studio.

4. Booking…… the ever present monster for the independent artist!! Need a ukester or a band for your event or venue?? You know where to find me.

5. I am gonna do my best to be more present on the social media thang. Never my strong suit, but I understand its importance in todays music world! Anyone want to be my social media liaison?!?! Hit me up.

Thanks for being a fan, for listening to the music, and for reading. Rock on!

2014 Year in Review

I was recently thinking about how great the last year in music has been for me. Of course the most thrilling of 2014 music events was the completion and release of my fourth studio album, "Unyielding", with the Ben Carr Music Project. This release was a long time in the making and is a piece of work which I am highly satisfied with. Also in the recorded music realm, I appeared on Sunny Lowdown's "The Blues Volume Low", and the cd was voted the best blues album of the year by Spokane Public Radio. Sweet!! In June I finished my 3rd and final year in the James Hill Ukulele Initiative (a teacher training certification). It was a great 3 years working with James on 'ukulele instruction, playing techniques, and pedagogy. I am a much better player and person from this experience. I played a number of uke festivals and gatherings in 2014 -- most notably the Mighty Uke Day IV in Lansing, MI. Meanwhile, back at home, the Southern Vermont 'Ukulele Society changed its name to the Brattleboro 'Ukulele Society and is still going strong. All shapes and styles of strummers are welcome to get on the BUS! 2014 also gave me a renewed interest in playing the drums, courtesy of the band Old Man Joe, which began as a guitar/drum duo but soon morphed into a power rock trio. Unfortunately some personnel differences find me not in this group any longer. But....I've got the drum bug again!!! With 'Unyielding' being completed and my renewed energy on the drum set, the creative juices are flowing and I'm working on a series of new material which could be ready by midsummer. Thanks for supporting Ben Carr Music in 2014! And cheers to a great 2015! ps..... I'll be hosting some uke workshops in the next few months, so keep an eye out for those.

25 days left for pre-release sales of 'Unyielding'

Hey all!! Oct. 31 will be the last day to get this deal on 'Unyielding'. One pre-release purchase gets you the hard copy CD (complete with artwork, liner notes, and signed by me), plus a free download of the live album compilation. All this for only $12!!! Once 'Unyielding' is released, both albums will cost $15. Visit http://bencarrmusic.com/shop/ and click on the pre-order button to make your purchase today. Thanks for being a fan. And thanks for your support!!

"Unyielding" pre-sales

It is with great joy that I announce pre-sales for the upcoming album release, Unyielding. This collection of 10 original compositions features the current line-up of the Ben Carr Music Project (Ben Carr - vocals, 'ukulele, percussion, Jason Koerber - flute, alto saxophone, Josh Maiocco - electric guitar, Joel Eisenkramer - acoustic and electric guitars, Pat Stevens - bass, and Pete Biolsi - drums) and travels through modes of rock and reggae, layered with jazz, bluegrass, folk, and afro-latin grooves. This genre mash up is the defining sound of the BCMP.

"What's the incetive for pre-buying the album?" I'm glad you asked. First off, the cost of Unyielding during pre-sales is $12.00. After the release date (which will be in the fall of 2014) the album price will be $15.00. Secondly, with a pre-sale purchase you will receive a free download album of live BCMP and solo recordings over the past 3 years. That's two full length albums for $12.00!!

Please navigate over to www.bencarrmusic.com where you can place orders through a secure PayPal link.

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