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Artist Spotlight: Ben Miller Band
This is the ninth post in a series of articles highlighting the artists performing at The 2018 Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival. Check out the rest here

-Tyler Parton, Roots N Blues Intern

Ben Miller Band’s music and lyrics are simple, and the formation of the Missouri-bred band was simple, too. The lead singer — unsurprisingly named Ben Miller — has had a passion for music since he was a young boy.  Growing up playing percussion for his family’s band, he has been around music his whole life. Little did he know that years down the line he would be part of a band touring all ends of the United States, opening for ZZ Top in a European tour and playing for the 58th annual Newport Folk Festival.  

Rewind back to the mid-2000’s. While hosting an open-mic night in Joplin, MO, Miller met Scott Leeper, who would later become his partner in crime for The Ben Miller Band.  Thanks to the laid-back, low-cost nature of the southwestern Missouri town, Miller took his time to build nationwide momentum behind the band, playing open-mic nights and local gigs around town.  

After gaining momentum behind the band, Leeper and drummer Doug Dicharry joined him for his weekend gigs and started building a name for The Ben Miller Band. Eventually, the band gained enough buzz that the guitarists from the Decemberists asked them to fill in at the Newport Folk Festival. However, it wasn’t all an upwards climb for the band.  While preparing for a concert in Lawrence, KS, their hometown of Joplin got hit by the 2011 tornado that destroyed the city. Devastated by the loss, the group set up a non-profit to provide support for the community and help rebuild the neighborhoods affected by the disaster.

After Dicharry left the band in 2016, Bob Lewis and Rachel Ammons joined The Ben Miller Band and the rest, they say, is history; they’ve put out three albums in the last 6 years. Their newest album, Choke Cherry Tree, dropped earlier this year and has an array of moods throughout their music and lyrics.  Anyone who has listened to this album knows that the lyrics are relatable and the music is perfect for any day (my personal favorite is Nothing Gets Me Down). In an interview, Miller said that he likes, “saying something very complicated in a very simple way.  That’s what we strive for musically, and what I strive for lyrically — to get directly to the point.” I think this perfectly encompasses the tone of Choke Cherry Tree and the diverse moods of songs on the album.

We’re super excited to bring The Ben Miller Band to Roots N Blues N BBQ this year — be sure to check them out while you’re at the music festival!  In the meantime, treat yourself and go check out Choke Cherry Tree and their other albums throughout the years!