tornado

Ben Miller Band #1505

Ben Miller Band first caught my attention at a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Oktoberfest event, where I had gone to see Bloodkin (previously featured here) perform and catch (the late) Bobby Keys play with them on a few songs. I was not previously familiar with the band, but their homemade washtub bass, stomp boxes, electric spoons, and other percussion kept me listening. I chatted with the band afterwards, and learned they had driven 20 hours to the show from Joplin, Missouri, where their hometown was still ravaged from the 2011 tornadoes.

Since then, Ben Miller Band has released a new album, this time backed by New West Records, and I have seen them live several times. I think their live shows outshine their records, which is handy given how much they are on the road. Currently, you can catch them on tour with Blackberry Smoke (previously featured here), and later this spring with ZZ Top. The record is good, but their shows are great.

Buy Ben Miller Band’s music here.

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Shinyribs (Kevin Russell) #1322

Normally, I write a blurb about how great the latest record from our featured artist is, in hopes that you will listen and like their songs, too. This week, however, I am reprinting Kevin Russell’s post after driving through the aftermath of the Oklahoma tornadoes. — SS

Shinyribs on the Moore, OK Tornadoes
The night of the harrowing Oklahoma tornadoes, Shinyribs came face to face with the destruction:

We were traveling on our way home that day from St. Louis at the end of a tour. Being aware of the severe weather threat in the region we checked radar before leaving and saw nothing. By the time we got on the other side of Tulsa things changed rapidly. Suddenly there was a line of Severe storms pulsing across central Oklahoma right where we were headed. We were able to get local TV coverage on our phone just as the Moore twister was touching down. And in utter disbelief we watched and listened to the surreal play by play of that horrific event. We were able to stop in northern OKC to get our wits about us and figure out what to do. We thought we might could get behind the storms by taking I-44 toward Wichita Falls. But, the bridge over the Canadian River was damaged and traffic was at a stand still. The best strategy for us at that point became to get a hotel and hunker down for the night. Watching the local news coverage of the ongoing rescue was sobering and sad. Driving through the debris field down I-35 was even worse the next day. We were fortunate and grateful to be able to drive the rest of the way back to our homes. But knowing many had lost their homes and loved ones in that storm made us, like many, want to do something to help . Over the next few days I pondered on this experience and kept up with the latest news. Without warning one afternoon a song surprised me as I sat at the piano. Had it been a mediocre song I might have just taken what good I could from it and moved on. I often write this way for myself to process the griefs and stresses of life. But, this song turned out to be a significant tune that I felt had value. And therefore it could be helpful on some level to the effort to help those most in need. I sent it to my friends (Oklahoma natives) Cody and Shannon Canada to get their opinions about guiding this song toward its most beneficial place. And now things are progressing towards this goal of recording it and making it available to the public as a means of raising much needed funds. Just trying to do our part and make it as meaningful as possible. – Kevin Russell

Catch the latest solo record, Gulf Coast Museum, from the front man for The Gourds, Kevin Russell AKA Shinyribs HERE.

Liner Notes
Shinyribs Gulf Coast Museum
The Gourds
Lincoln Durham
Neil Young & Crazy Horse (live)
Paul Simon
No Show Ponies
Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
Band of Heathens (live)

Video
From my favorite online festival, CXCW AKA Couch By Couch West:

Download or listen to the podcast here.