Contemporary artist Neil Jenney once told Ben Musser, in order to create something truly unique, one must shut out the influence of others. For Jenney, it meant stop looking at your peers’ work and for Musser, it translated to taking a break from listening to his favorite bands’ albums. Difficult, of course, but to fully realize one’s potential as a unique artist, one must focus on what is inside and let it out, untainted. Stop worrying about what is happening around you. Permit yourself to be the artist you are.
This interaction sticks with Musser and guides him like the North Star. He sometimes bends the rules when it comes to listening to his peers but remains resolute and keenly focused on realizing his potential as a unique artist.
Benyaro is Ben Musser’s indie-acoustic soul and roots project, which in his words, he “formed to expand the boundaries of acoustic music and serve as a vehicle for my distilling artistry.” Musser is a multi-instrumentalist; a drummer, guitarist, singer, songwriter and schooled in jazz, rock, classical guitar and voice. Benyaro performs most frequently as a duo where Musser, along with an upright bass player, plays guitar, kick drum, hi-hat, shaker, harmonica, and his most important instrument, his voice, which has repeatedly drawn comparisons to David Bowie, Cat Stevens, and Axl Rose from both critics and fans. It has been said that you’ll never hear more music come from just two people. Loops and pre-recorded music? No, thank you. Not Benyaro.
Musser has spent his life building a career brick-by-brick, touring across the United States, living in and immersing himself in artist communities in Nashville, Austin and New York City, where he self-produced 3 albums that gained national attention, charting on the CMJ Top 200, in addition to placements in Relix Magazine’s “On the Verge” and critic’s picks in Nashville Scene, Boulder Weekly, amongst others. He currently headquarters his record label and recording studio in Jackson Hole, WY where inspiration is abundant and noise comes only from nature, proving to be the perfect venue for writing his honest, eclectic music.
Musser’s vision has earned Benyaro support tours with some of Americana’s finest artists, including: Shovels & Rope, The Infamous Stringdusters, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, Anders Osborne, Malcolm Holcombe, and one-off support of The Avett Brothers, Langhorne Slim & the Law, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Samantha Crain, Mandolin Orange and The Farewell Drifters, amongst others.
2014 is shaping up to be a busy year for Musser, who will be scoring, performing in, and acting as music supervisor for the upcoming feature film, Searching for Fortune. Musser will compose an original Americana soundtrack to accompany the dusty tale of self-discovery, friendship and roughneck life in the Mountain West. Collaborating with Musser via mixing on the soundtrack will be Danny Kadar. Kadar’s fingerprints are on many successful projects (Band of Horses, Grizzly Bear, My Morning Jacket, G-Love) but perhaps he is best known for co-producing/mixing The Avett Brothers Emotionalism; also known as the album that earned the brothers Rick Rubin’s attention.
No stranger to hard work, Musser will also find time to finish penning Benyaro’s 4th album, which is slated for a 2015 release. By then, fans and music lovers will undoubtedly anticipate the discovery of what materializes with a full Ben Musser / Danny Kadar co-production.