Ben Graves
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Ben Graves


Band Rock Alternative


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Ben Graves Trio-Crazy Italians"

Ben Graves is an alumnus of the Berklee College of Music, where he was awarded scholarships for vocals and saxophone, as well as being featured on the school’s promotional CD. He holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and an M.F.A. in music from Washington State University.
But can he rock? The answer: yeah, sort of.
The Ben Graves trio seems more interested in grooves, jazz and inspired chord changes than in your basic “learn three chords and let’s rock” approach. References to Dave Matthews are obvious, but Graves is more stripped-down and acoustic. The title track is a good example – a brushed-stroke snare pattern and accordion propel Graves’ snapshot of different cultures and the characteristics each possess. “Princess Grace,” with its funky, fretless bass groove, is an ode to the late, great, actress. “Direction” sounds like a less overwrought and more intelligent Hootie and the Blowfish.
“Sometimes” features Graves’ crisp guitar picking. He also handles dobro, saxophone, and harmonica, and his melodies are consistently fresh and inventive. Crazy Italians proves that all those years in school paid off. Which should make his parents proud and please anyone else who enjoys intelligent pop music.
- Neil Fagan

- Performing Songwriter Magazine

"Ben Graves Trio"

You’ve heard of sitcoms: this is sit-pop. Like Ben Folds and Squeeze’s Glenn Tilbrook, singer-guitarist Ben Graves delivers incisive observations on the everyday in a honeyed voice. Lyrically Graves interacts with Oscar Wilde, ruminates on “girls,” and has run-ins with a “boss man.” Fretless bassist Mark Brunner and percussionist Dan Berkman lay down an ersatz Soul Coughing groove, while Graves syncopated plucked chords in a style similar to Dave Matthews’. The first two songs, “Princess Grace” and Direction,” have the happy-go-lucky feeling of Matthews’ Under the Table and Dreaming. The sparse opening of “Sometimes,” featuring just Graves’ vocal and fingerpicked guitar, momentarily moves into James Taylor territory as Graves waxes saccharine with lines like “Why is the sky so blue / For everyone else but you?” With this mix of easy grooves and smooth roots-rock sensibility, it’s easy to picture Ben Graves trio playing in supper clubs and neighborhood cafes alike.

- Howard Myint

- SF Bay Guardian

"Ben Graves--Memphis"

"...Graves seems to be on the slow and steady road to success... sharing the stage with notables and winning the prizes that are stepping stones to the kind of recognition he deserves. (His songs)...conjure up the feel of a long walk with a comfortable lover; the scenery changes, but the feeling is the same."

--Katherine Brown,
- SF Weekly

"Ben Graves-Memphis (Performing Songwriter Magazine)"

"...exuberant pop, ... tightly crafted songs that (lend) themselves well to improvisation in a live setting."

--Russell Hall - Performing Songwriter Magazine


"Crazy Italians" (Little Firecracker")
"Memphis" (Little Firecracker)
"Live" (Little Firecracker)



The trio is as versatile as they come; 3 experienced jazz musicians playing anything from hard rock to swinging bebop with acoustic instruments (Ben usually brings his electric for the occasional rockin' tune). Brook's double bass thumping & Matt's tasty drumming can set the stage for anything from a classy wedding reception (they have SOME nice clothes...) to a midnight set at CBGB's.

Graves is a seasoned performer who has shared stages with artists as random as Modern Jazz Quartet bassist Percy Heath and Kid Rock. His last studio CD, Memphis, was played on some 300 radio stations worldwide, and in the summer of 2002, charted top 30 at some 50 stations, such as WTSR Ewing, NJ (#3), WNYK Nyack, NY (#10), and WUIC Chicago (#14). Memphis features the contributions of pros such as drummer Scott Amendola, keyboardist Rob Burger (Tin Hat Trio, Norah Jones), and bassist Lee Alexander (Norah Jones). Rosalie Howarth of San Francisco's KFOG called it "very, very good"; "excellent CD," said KRZA in Colorado; and "a great, great disc," said music director Sean Wilson of WTSR.

More recently he recorded Live, chronicling the Ben Graves duo's 4-year Thursday night steady at SF's vibey cocktail lounge, Tonic. Live showcases Graves' writing, baritone guitar work, and live loops (amidst the clinking beer glasses and bar banter), in the liberating context of a 'rock duet' featuring Jim Kassis or Darian Gray on drums. The first CD from the Ben Graves trio, Crazy Italians, included the cut "Princess Grace," which was featured on the Performing Songwriter magazine 1999 CD sampler showcasing their picks for the top 12 unsigned independent releases.

Whatever the instrumentation or musical occasion, Ben Graves weaves his unique guitar style and soulful voice into a truly original tapestry that is at once innovative, informed, and inspired.