The Ben Rice Band
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The Ben Rice Band

Newberg, Oregon, United States | SELF

Newberg, Oregon, United States | SELF
Band Blues Soul




"Ben Rice Pour Me Some Whiskey"

Wave riders, you rock blues aficionados may know The Ben Rice Band if only for their bridesmaid finishes in music competitions and blues awards. However, there is no question about the Band’s twelve track release, Pour Me Some Whiskey. It is an absolute winner.

I was introduced to Ben Rice and The Ben Rice Band by a Duck. The CD was sent to me by my daughter who attends the University of Oregon. Ben Rice hails from Newberg, Oregon and she saw the band perform in or about Eugene. She was sufficiently moved to send me the CD. Once I heard it and checked out video of the band’s performances, I understand why she was so moved to actually send the album to me.

Imagine Robert Randolph and Joe Bonamassa merged into one person playing with Lee Rocker and Slim Jim Phantom and you get an idea of the style of The Ben Rice Band. It is hard rocking blues driven music. Some critics have called it “Rockabilly, Swamp Rock, and Soul infused Country” although the Band’s publicity says, for Ben, it “is the kitchen sink of Blues mixed with his band mate’s influences of Punk, Hip-Hop, and Classic Rock.” All of those descriptions are apt summations of what you hear on Pour Me Some Whiskey. Ben Rice sings and plays dobro, lap steel and a cigar box guitar. He also occasionally plays bass. Tommy Rice plays a stand-up bass and Ryan Rustrum plays`drums. On the CD Paul Biondi is also given credit for providing horn tracks.

Ben is the songwriter and he writes a mean song The album has everything from a self-described “Johnny Cash meets Motörhead” hard rock - Wreck On You; a Stax/Volt Memphis soul - I Know You Love Me;. a fast swing jump blues - Chop You Up; a delta bluesman-inspired Mississippi Bayou music - Don’t Worry Mama; and every a rockin’ blues sound you will likely not find anywhere else.

As much as the Band’s music stands up by itself, I am told, and their video confirms, their live shows are a blast. Ben Rice’s slide and fret work is superb. Tommy Rice is a madman on stage, twirling, spinning, standing on, and occasionally setting fire to his bass. Ryan Rustrum sometimes comes out from behind the kit and drums on the strings of the bass while Tommy frets the notes.

My daughter is right. You should take a gander at The Ben Rice Band and Pour Me Some Whiskey - The Ripple Effect

"Thirsty for some Blues? Ben Rice Band-Pour Me Some Whiskey!"

Thirsty for some Blues? Ben Rice Band – Pour Me Some Whiskey!
Rob Harrison
– April 5, 2012Posted in: Album Reviews, Blues, Country Blues, Hill country Blues, Memphis Blues, News, Reviews

ben rice band - pour me some whiskeySo many kinds. Whisky, or whiskey? Bourbon? Single malt? Highland single malt? Blended? Charred barrel or not? Oh the varieties. And so it is with the Ben Rice Band’s Pour Me Some Whiskey.

This CD is like going into a bar and discovering that the shelves are all top notch whisk(e)ys. In this case, you have ample styles of blues to choose from, and what the hell, just say, “Barkeep, pour me some whisky. Surprise me….”
And he does.

The first thing you’ll notice about this young man is that he plays slide guitar incredibly well. He teaches slide guitar, in fact. Ben has great energy, writes great songs, and plays really well, whether slide or not. With lyrics like “My father was a preacher, my mother a prostitute,” you just know it’s going to be good. Joining him are Ryan Rustrum on drums, and Tom Rice on bass. Three guys? Yea, for the most part. You know it’s gonna be good, or go home.

Oh, a little Makers Mark? How about the Memphis soul sound of “I know You Love Me”, with what sounds like a pedal steel — a Hawaiian swing!? On to the swing band “Chop You Up”, and the added funk in “Cheaper By the Dozen”, all songs with the added horns. Man, that was smooth, and that fire inside is starting to build.

A little Green Spot? Oh, stepping up now. “Give Me a Call,” with its shuffle swing groove let’s you know these guys can kick it up a notch. Opening with flames on the drums, “Country Boy,” drops into a rocking Mississippi hills guitar riff and filtered mic. The title cut, “Pour Me Some Whiskey”, is a straight up quarter note back beat groove. Can you feel it!? Velvet fire gonna get those feet a movin!

Here, try this. It’s The Maccallan. At a certain point, you put the boogie out on the floor fun aside. It is time for some serious 30 year old drink. Sit back and marvel at what emerges. “Wreck On You” has a Steve Earle/John Hiatt wild boy angst all fueled with a four on the floor straight up rock beat augmented with wind in your hair slide work. This is the sippin stuff! Focus on it, hear that taste! The lap steel of “Wants Me Back Again” brings to mind that wonderful deep sound of Chris Whitley, layered with a beautiful bass line backdrop. “Bad Bad Boy” closes out the album with a slide tour de force, and this is one CD that gets you applauding from your chair! The finish lingers on the palette after the final notes have stopped….

You’ll be surprised by that bar keep all right. All the different kinds of blues they know and the other styles that have influenced these young players means you’re going to leave that ear bar a happy camper, and you will be back.

Whether his previous two CDs or this one, go ahead and ask Ben Rice Band to Pour Me Some Whiskey, and slake your blues thirst! - American Blues Scene

"Check Out Ben Rice"

Yakima Herald 2011
Yakima Herald

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POSTED ON Wednesday, August 31, 2011 AT 03:14PM
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Check out Ben Rice Band's blues at Bill's on Friday

Ben Rice grew up in Oregon, not exactly a blues hotbed like Chicago or Kansas City or the Mississippi Delta.

But, while his buddies were listening to Nirvana and Elliott, Rice was listening to Al Green and The Isley Brothers. Soul -- and eventually the blues -- just sounded better to him.

"I think it was the groove, the ability to take your time and express yourself," he says in a phone interview this week.

Rice, who plays a free show at Bill's Place at 8 p.m. Friday, is still young at 23. But he started playing guitar when he was 7 and was playing live for audiences with his older brothers' band by the time he was 12. That band, Minor Effects, opened for hard-rock legends Motorhead and Iron Maiden, something the young Rice didn't fully comprehend at the time and is proud of now.

But that wasn't the musical direction for him, either. He preferred to play like B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

"It slowly became this journey back in time to older blues people," he says. "People from the '60s to the '50s and then all the way back to the Delta."

His music, about half of which he's written himself, is definitely informed by that history. But it's also informed by drummer Ryan Rustrum's affection for hip-hop, and bass player (and brother) Tommy Rice's love of punk rock. That's not to say The Ben Rice Band is anything but a blues band; it's just that unlike a lot of blues bands they don't sound like they never listened to a record made after 1970. Their sound, particularly Rice's voice, is dynamic and very much alive.

"I'll present something to (the other band members), and it can be a straightforward Robert Johnson song," he says. "From there we'll take it and play it in a way that's interesting and creates a dialogue with modern audiences."

That's kind of a specialty of the band, that "creating a dialogue" thing.
"When we perform, there's the musical aspect of it; we have to perform well musically," he says. "But there's also the showmanship aspect. So we try to keep it high-energy and fun, create a s
Ben Rice Has The Blues
Thursday, May 26, 2011
By Jessica Ridgway
Ben Rice stands at an average 5 feet 6 inches. He wears square-rimmed glasses, collared button-up shirts, jeans, and black loafers. He mumbles softly into the microphone as he introduces himself and The Ben Rice Blues Band. At first glance, Rice looks like your stereotypical nerd from high school; all that he’s missing is the pocket protector. New audience members hoping to hear some great blues music seem shocked when Rice walks on stage – he is the complete opposite of what a blues singer looks like. However, once Rice picks up his guitar and starts singing, the Eugene audience is taken straight to the Deep South.

A fan of Rice’s describes him as a “black blues singer stuck inside a normal white guy.” Rice, originally from Newberg, Oregon, is the lead singer and guitarist of The Ben Rice Blues Band here in Eugene. He is a perfect example of why you should never judge based on appearance. He describes himself as a shy and awkward person, but you would never perceive that about him from his performances. Rice says that the biggest influences of his music are artists like Carlos Santana and B.B. King. However, he is inspired by music from a large range of varying genres – everything from blues to rock, soul, and even eastern African music.

In addition to having the voice of a Southern black blues singer, Rice is an amazing guitarist. He picked up his first guitar, a 1981 Washburn A10, when he was only five years old. At the age of seven, he began taking lessons, and now, at the prime age of 22, Rice says that he can “convincingly play four instruments” – the guitar, bass, trombone, and drums.

Once Rice begins performing, a complete character transformation happens before the audience’s eyes. As Rice closes his eyes and begins playing his guitar, you can see his feelings in his face as he is moved by his own music. He’s a natural onstage. Then, he opens his mouth, and this deep, soulful voice comes out and blows the audience away. It doesn’t take long for the audience to get involved with the music. One verse into the first song and people are already tapping their feet or clapping along with the beat. Rice sways back and forth, eyes still closed, and belts out his blues.

Rice wasn’t always into the blues, though. He joined his first band in 1997 as a guitarist when he was nine years old. It was his two older brothers’ metal band, Minor Effects. The same year that he joined, Minor Effects opened for both Motörhead and Iron Maiden, two very popular metal bands. Rice’s blues career began two years later when he performed his first blues gig at the Hop Madness Celebration in Oregon.

Rice and T - Yakima Herald

"Curtis Salgado benefit"

On the Curtis Salgado benefit featuring Robert Cray,Taj Mahal,Little Charlie,Everclear, Bobby Torres and Curtis Salgado

Denny Melor spent his schmoozing time pitching Robert Cray his favorite new band "Ben Rice and the Youth of Blues" discovered at the Rose festival Battle of the Bands. Denny has been a judge for the high school competition for the past 4 years."The first year I was a judge ben came in 4th,second year he came in 3rd,Last year he came in 2nd and this year he won it all. This kid has big time frontman charisma,great material and a incredible band. Girl drummer,blind keyboardist,they're ready for the road." Opening for Robert Cray soon.... - 2 louies Magazine

"Carrying on the Blues"

* Posted by Graham Kislingbury
* August 10, 2007

I had fun Thursday evening introducing the bands and making the announcements during the River Rhythms concert at Monteith Riverpark.
But I thought the most interesting part of the evening was sitting in the area behind the stage while the Ben Rice Blues Band played its brief but outstanding set. Jay Moeller, the drummer for the Fabulous Thunderbirds took notice, got out of of his chair and watched the rest of the Ben Rice set from the stage stairway. He liked what heard, and pretended to drum while the band played. The young band also wowed vocalist and harmonica player Kim Wilson, who has been with the Fabulous Thunderbirds since the group’s 1974 start in Austin, Tex.
It was refreshing to see these veteran musicians get inspired by and give a nod to a young band that has embraced the blues with tremendous enthusiasm and talent.
Wilson got the same kind of encouragement years ago from one of the greats, Muddy Waters.
On Thursday, the Fabulous Thunderbirds picked up steam as their set progressed. The band’s extended encore had the audience on its feet, clapping and dancing. I just wish they had invited Ben Rice to jam with them on those final numbers. Maybe they will the next time the two groups cross paths.
We’ll probably get many more opportunities to hear the Ben Rice Blues Band in years to come. Rice, who is from Newberg, will be a sophomore and resident adviser this year at the University of Oregon.
After seeing two generations of performers Thursday night, I went away feeling the blues are alive and we - Graham Kislingbury

"18th annual Winthrop festival"

The street dance featured the phenomenal teenaged, Oregon Blues ensemble Ben Rice and the Youth of Blues friday night. On Saturday Ben and his talented band stole the show! The band ranges from 18 to their keyboard player who is sightless and just turned 14. Yet they possess a maturity to their music that is far beyond their years. - Washington Blues society

"Fear of Loathing 18th annual waterfront blues festival"

In case your not familiar with them, Ben Rice and the Youth of Blues are an impressive teenage blues group from Newberg Oregon that played at Hot August Blues in Walla Walla last year. after playing our festival they took off and are playing a number of major festivals around the northwest this summer. Just goes to show you what a gig in Walla Walla can do for your career. Actually, theses kids are a very talented group of kids and very entertaining as well. I don't think anyone ever tires of watching a teenage guitar wizard playing his guitar behind his back. - Kevin bad dog Shenefield

"Keeping it Old School"

News Views Letters Calendar Film Music Culture Classifieds Personals Archive

Keepin' It Old School
Ben Rice sounds older than his years

If you're even remotely familiar with the phone sex profession, you understand how voices can be deceiving. Such is the case with the Ben Rice Blues Band, which sounds more like a bunch of scruffy middle-aged men than the clean-cut teenagers that they are.
Ben Rice Blues Band. 9 pm Saturday, June 30. Luna • $5. 21 + show.

Looking like he would much sooner be mowing my lawn than fronting a blues band, Ben Rice, 18, formed the band in the seventh grade. Over the years the lineup has changed, and the group has gone through multiple drummers, but with five Muddy Award nominations and three CDs in radio rotation, they seem to have finally found the winning combination.

The band currently consists of Ben Rice on guitar and lead vocals, 17-year-old Daniel Rice on sax and harmonica, 15-year-old Mac Potts on keys, Alex McEntee on bass and Alex Ankeny on percussion.

According to Ben Rice, the band's music is a mix of traditional and contemporary blues. Depending on the song, you might hear remnants of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Chuck Berry, B.B. King or Muddy Waters. "I don't really seek out to sound like John Mayer and Dave Mathews Band or any of them. I mostly try to make it different from what other blues bands are playing. I lean towards sounding 'old school' more than contemporary though," Rice says.

The members of the band have a maturity and professionalism rare among people their age. In the sultry song "Rosey," Ben sings about a woman in a way that makes even the most experienced woman blush. Daniel Rice brings a whole lot of class to the song, playing the sax with a heartwrenching soulfulness. His sax could easily overpower Ben's voice, but instead he makes it croon as if it is a backup singer.

The upbeat "Hang Up the Phone" is a tribute to the rhythm and blues style of such greats as Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, who brought a rock and roll approach to the blues. Mac Potts, despite being blind since birth, plays the piano with the same frenetic energy as Jerry Lee Lewis in "Great Balls of Fire."

Their youthful spirit has attracted a much younger audience to their shows than you would normally find at a blues concert. "Younger audiences have been appearing more. I don't think it is the music as much as it is the energy we put behind what we do," Ben explains. "Also, the blues has had such a large influence on rock that a lot of our songs have a similar feel to classic rock, which will always be popular among teenagers."

Clearly taking advantage of the rock star lifestyle, the guys traveled to Memphis, Tenn., in February where they competed in the International Blues Challenge and stayed up until 3 am every night jamming with other bands and locals. The guys will be playing a slew of festivals this summer in Oregon, California and Washington. - Eugene Weekly

"Rogue Valley Blues Festival"

The Ben Rice Blues Band
Main events at
Historic Ashland Armory
208 Oak St., Ashland Sunday, January 20, 2008
Doors open 5:30PM for dinner
Music begins 6PM

This is The Ben Rice Blues Band's third time performing at the Rogue Valley Blues Festival. Why? Because they are just fabulous! Not only are they great musicians, they know how to put on a great show (though Dan Rice standing in the middle of the audience on top of the plastic tables blowing his saxophone does get this producer a bit nervous). The band also has been seen in this area performing for the Medford Parks and Recreation Bear Creek Park summer concert series in 2006 and 2007 and for the Grants Pass Parks and Recreation summer concert series in 2007 - Ariella St.Clair

"Their Natural Born Blues Players"

Lewis Taylor The Register-Guard

The Ben Rice Blues Band used to be known as Ben Rice and the Youth of Blues. Then its members noticed a peculiar phenomenon.

"When we applied for festivals, they automatically took us out of the running," says Ben Rice, the group's singer and guitarist. `They would think, `This is just another kid band.' '

In the world of the blues, apparently, youth doesn't count for much.

Unless you're these guys, who will be playing Portland's Waterfront Blues Festival next month and Luna on Saturday. The group also represented the Cascade Blues Association at the 2007 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn.

You wouldn't know by listening that there's not a member in the group older than 18. Rice's latest release, "Wake Up the Blues," is a playful journey across the blues landscape.

The only hint that a few of the band's members are still in high school is a sense of youthful energy - not a bad thing in a genre often accused of being formulaic.

"The two covers that we do don't really sound like the originals," says Rice, pointing to a pair of songs on the new album: B.B. King's "Paying the Cost to Be the Boss" and Robert Johnson's "If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day."

"We listen to the stuff and play it and we put our own spin on the blues."

The Ben Rice Blues Band was formed in Newberg, of all places. And while Rice is the undisputed band leader, the star is Mac Potts, the group's blind, 16-year-old piano prodigy, who has to be heard to be appreciated.

"He's a 60-year-old musician stuck in a 16-year-old's body," Rice says.

Rice says he'll be surprised if Potts doesn't get picked up by a national touring act or signed by a major record label soon. Add the fact that the band's members are now scattered from Eugene to the Portland area, and that means this may be your best chance to see the Ben Rice Blues Band before it becomes a footnote in the bios of several soon-to-be-accom- plished musicians.

Along with Potts, who was recently featured in an episode of "Oregon Art Beat" on OPB, the band includes Rice's younger brother Daniel on sax and harmonica and "the two Alexes": Alex McEntee (bass) and Alex Ankeny (drums).

"This isn't something we kind of do on the side," Ben Rice says. "This is something we're pretty much 100 percent going at.

`Every day, it's pretty much thinking about how we can improve. ... It's a lot of fun, but we got past the whole just-playing-for-fun stage a couple of years ago."

Outgrowing punk

A guitarist from the age of 7, Rice grew up in a family that includes three brothers and a half sister, all of them musicians. He played in a punk band with his brothers before gravitating toward the blues, a style that he says was always in his blood.

"I've always kind of had that vibe in my playing," he ex- plains.

"Even when I was playing hard rock, my solos were bluesy. Over time, I just kind of drifted over there."

Rice formed his blues band while in the seventh grade. Two years ago, he added Potts, then a 14-year-old unknown.

Rice invited the keyboardist to learn a few of the band's songs and sit in with them during a concert. Potts chose one of the more difficult tunes and quickly made his talents known.

"It was a funky groove with (some) complicated changes," Rice recalls. "Immediately, I could hear him through the monitors.

`It really elevated our sound, and he pretty much wowed everybody in the band and in the audience."


Ben Rice Blues Band

When: 9 p.m., Saturday

Where: Luna, 30 E. Broadway - Eugene Register Guard


Pour Me Some Whiskey 2011
Deep Blues 2009
Wake Up the Blues - 2006
Ben Rice with the Youth of Blues - 2005
The Next Generation of Blues - 2004

Radio Appearances
KPFT 90.1 Houston
107.7 The End - Seattle, Washington
101.9 Kink Portland, Oregon
Live - Internet
89.7 fm KWWF - Eastern Washington
KMHD 89.1- Gresham, Oregon
KBOO 91.1 - Portland, Oregon
KDRVS - Sacramento, California
KRVM- Eugene Oregon

1. Don't Worry Mama** ?
-[Semi-Finalist 2012 Int’l Songwriting Competition][Hollywood Music in Media Best Song Nominee- Blues]
2.I Know You Love Me
[Semi-Finalist 2012 Int’l Songwriting Competition]
3.Wreck On You**
4.Give Me A Call
5.Pour Me Some Whiskey**
6.?Gator Hunt?**
7.Chop You Up
8.?Cheaper By The Dozen
9.From the Bottom**
10. ?Wants Me Back Again
11.?Bad Bad Boy ??**
12.Big Evil Woman ?
13.Don't Push Me Away ?
14.Done Me Wrong
15.?Glass Turtle ?
16.I Feel Loved
17.I Saw The Devil ?
18.Infatuation ?
20.?Last Year
21.?Livin' the Life ??
22.Love Me Baby ?
23.Mean Lady ?
24.No Love
25.?No More ?
26.Pain ?
27.Passion ?
29.??Screamin' Train
30.?Shake It
31.?Speedy Cakes
32.Train Song
33.T?ell Me Baby**
34.?Up Your Stairs
35.?You Were Wrong
36.?Wake Up the Blues?**
37. Runaround**

** - indicates radio play



The Ben Rice Trio has been described by outsiders as Blues Rockabilly, Swamp Rock, and Soul infused Country. Ben himself says the bands music is the kitchen sink of Blues mixed with his band mates influences of Punk, Hip-Hop, and Classic Rock. Their sound is molded by the instruments they yield. Ben playing a dobro, lap steel, and the infamous cigar box guitar. While bassist Alex McEntee blends his soulful support in the lower registers with Ryan Rustrum's big drum sound that creating a fresh yet true to an American heritage sound.
His latest album, Pour Me Some Whiskey is a testament to that. The album features songs exemplifying various sub-genres of blues. Songs like, Wreck on You a hard rocking in your face song that conjures up Johnny Cash meets Motrhead, Chop You Up a fast swinging jump blues, straight out of the West Coast tradition, Dont Worry Mama a fan favorite inspired by Reverend Gary Davis, and I Know You Love Me a song out of the Memphis soul tradition.
While their sound is unique and appeals to all kinds of music lovers, their stage presence and energy is what brings audiences regularly to their feet. In addition to Bens virtuosic slide and fret work, the rest of the band works hard to create a fun and engaging stage show.
The magnetizing energy of the Ben Rice Trio performances originates in the bands love of playing music. This energy feeds the audience and elevates the overall live music experience. The bands intermixture of musical styles ensures that each music set is interesting and engaging for listeners. The band takes great enjoyment in performing such a varied repertoire so fervently.

What People Are Saying
They tore it up and was my backing Band. Kenny Neal
They stole the show from National acts. RheaRolfe, Washington Blues Society
I got entertained! Great musicianship!Thomas Ruf, Ruf Records and IBC Judge
I am speechless. Mike Dyson, Blue Shoe Project
Excellent music and show.Bill Wax, XM radio and IBC Judge
Dont close your eyes you wont believe. Toni Demarcolli, Bite of Oregon
Wow! So good, so young!Dave Mason, Traffic, R&R Hall of Fame
This is the best band in Memphis this weekend.Jason Dril, The Rum Boogie
This band has a lot of fun when they play and so does the audience.
Linda Z, Bite of Seattle
This band is good enough to play twice labor day weekend.
Steve Demerest, Der Hinterhoff Inn
They are our house band and play every year.
Wes Edwards, Rendezvous Blues Festival Oroville Washington
They have a lot of Hooks and steal the show. Lloyd, Mt. Baker Blues Festival
250 CDs sold in a day its a record. Shelly Spain, Winthrop Blues Festival
This is the most professional band we have booked. Steve Lake Chelan Winery
This Band is Awesome. Gary Allen, Drummer for JJ Cale

Alex McEntee - Bass
Ryan Rustrum - Percussion, Drums
Ben Rice - Lap Steel Guitar, Electric Guitar, Cigar Box Guitar

Band Members