Ben has been playing guitar since he was 13 years old (and take my word for it, that’s a long time!). He is self taught. He had his first public appearance when he performed at his high school talent show in Forest Hills, Queens, New York (the same high school Simon and Garfunkel graduated from!). Ben played an original song entitled, “Strangers are just friends we haven’t met yet” and the paper wrote, “with Ben’s meaningful lyrics and prowess on a 12 string guitar, he may be Forest Hills’ next Paul Simon”. He attended Fredonia College in upstate New York where they specialized in music. Once he realized that he was no where near the caliber of the students there, he transferred to Albany State University, also in upstate New York, but, there, he met a great friend and very talented musician, Jeff Erb, who taught him to carry a tune and the two went on to become “Cajun Blue” and performed at many local venues in and around the area.
It was 30 years later when his best friend for over 25 years said “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you play guitar” and, after hearing him said, “You should perform”. A neighbor who knew lots of bands and venues asked him to call a new place that was looking for an acoustic guitar player, really just to make him look like he knew lots of performers, so, Ben being a good friend, called and offered his services, never expecting to be asked to play. Ben’s daughter was sitting with him when he made the call and when he got off the phone he was laughing at having been “called out” on his attempt to make his friend look good. His daughter asked, “What’s so funny Dad”, and Ben explained that the restaurant owner had asked him to play that weekend. His daughter said, “So why don’t you just play?”. Ben replied, “Do you know how scared I would be if I had to sing and play in front of an audience after not having done so in over 30 years?” His daughter said, “You know Dad, when I tell you I’m scared, you’re on me like a ton of bricks!” So, being a single dad, Ben knew his actions spoke much louder than words and accepted the gig and it has been an amazingly great ride ever since!
Ben had been playing at La Cipollina in Freehold, NJ every Friday night for the past several years. Ben, the duo and the trio also performed regularly at the Laurita Winery in New Egypt, NJ, Stay Gold in Belmar, NJ, the Brass Rail in Matawan, NJ, Beacon Hill CC in the Atlantic Highlands, NJ, Forsgate CC in Monroe Township, NJ, Knob Hill CC and Battleground CC in Manalapan, NJ and the Colts Neck Inn in Colts Neck, NJ. More recently, Ben has been performing at the Bird Key Yacht Club, the Sarasota Yacht Club and TPC Prestancia in Sarasota, FL, the Bradenton Yacht Club, Dockside at Riviera Dunes (formerly the Blu Mangrove Restaurant), Jaxx Playbook and the Riverhouse Reef and Grill in Palmetto, FL and Island Time Bar and Grill and Daiquiri Deck on Anna Maria Island, FL. Ben also plays at adult communities, assisted living facilities, private parties, weddings, graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, retirements and just fun get togethers where people want to have fun and hear some good music.