Ben Witham & The Betty Band

Ben Witham & The Betty Band

BandPopSinger/Songwriter

Soulful contemporary folk-rock original songs blending blues and country influences and covering love, politics and social justice, combining vocals, violin, mandolin, guitars, banjo, electric-bass, keyboard and drums.

Biography

A strongly acoustic folk rock sound with acoustic steel rythm guitar, violin and mandolin dominating in highly melodic songs. Song styles include up tempo Celtic swing, slow blues, rock and folk. Singer-songwriter Ben Witham draws on a wide range of influences for inspiration including Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Shane Howard, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Paul Simon, Bruce Cockburn. What sets us apart is the diversity of song styles, the rich melodic instrumentation and incisive, poetic lyrics. The band originally formed in early 2006 and has worked its way up through cafes, bars and pubs through to festival gigs.

Lyrics

Midnight Road

Written By: Ben Witham

Midnight Road

Heading down a midnight road, I’ve been away it’s starting to show
White lines trace my trajectory; in your arms is where I want to be

Chorus:

Sometimes I’m an arrow, going straight to your heart
Right now I’m an arrow, going straight to your heart

Some days I’m shining some days I’m a storm, sorry my darling I’m not always warm
But often coming through unawares, is I want you, I want you and I’m so glad to care

Chorus

Middle Eight

Mystery so much shot down in a blaze,
The rushing moments chewing up the days and the days
Had a vision of you living way till you’re old
And I wished so much for you and shelter from the cold

Out here on this midnight road, with these thoughts and my familiar road
Glad for this longing inside of me, in your arms is where I want to be

Chorus

A Nice Place for Dying

Written By: Ben Witham

Nice Place for Dying

Seven days in the desert
My throat is kind of dry
Scavengers are waiting
For the moment when I die

I had to eat my companion
Well they say its man’s best friend
But you know it broke my heart up
Not to have him till the end

Still it’s a nice place for dying
Pure vistas and virgin land
It’s a nice place for lying down
To ebb away in the sand

To those who might miss me
Keep the flag of freedom high
For a decent breakfast
For a wide open sky

I came here to know that
It’s all right on your own
My regards to each and everyone
And spend some time alone

And it’s a nice place for dying
Pure vistas and virgin land
It’s a nice place for lying down
To ebb away in the sand

I used to send post cards
I wrote one or two songs
I’ve spent so many years
Trying to work out the right from the wrong

I’ve taken my boots off
That feels nice
I’ve looked up to the heavens
Maybe once, maybe twice

It’s all passed before me
This funny life I’ve led
And now it seems so strange
To think I’ll soon be dead

Still it’s a nice place for dying
Pure vistas and virgin land
It’s a nice place for lying down
To ebb away in the sand

Under this Sky

Written By: Ben Witham

Under this Sky

Under this sky, under this earth
We lay your body down
Across these hearts, through these tears
We placed you in the ground

Fifty years and more ago
You bore me to this life
The arc of a long slow love
My mother, my father’s wife

Under that time, over that bed
You knew my first breath
Here in this room, and on this bed
I caught your last

The loving body I’ve known the longest
Will be touched no more
The world you were, died with you,
Just echoes on the shore

Under this skin, under this sun
On the roads of this country place
Beneath these lamps, along these streets
So much we could trace

Of your own mother, so proud you were
Of the shining in her eyes
And so you go, as must we all
To touch and then to die

Under this roof, here in this room
Your clothes hang so still
Up in that room, over those views
Your piano waits another’s will

Your soft ‘Hello’ to me
In one of your last nights
Your graciousness comes to me now
And soothes some clouded nights

Under this sky, under this earth
We lay your body down
Over these hearts, through these tears
We placed you in the ground

Dear General

Written By: Ben Witham

Dear General

Dear General I’m writing to you,
Regarding reports coming through
Of what are these people accused
Why have the authorities persistently refused
To acknowledge their detention and abuse
Dear General

Dear General may I respectfully ask
That you undertake these few tasks
Establish their whereabouts supposedly unknown
And a guarantee of their safety be shown
And reveal what your own authorities disown
Dear General

Dear General I can hear their families cries
But I fear a narrowing of your eyes
Is it too much to ask this one time?
Even one finger raised against this crime
Each side of your prison walls spreads the bloody grime
Dear General

Dear General you must forgive my tongue
Your fine sensibilities I hope I have not stung
It’s just that I’m a little concerned
About these people terrorized and burned
While your chosen ones think that all they’ve got is earned
Dear General

Dear General hoping you can bring
Justice and compassion to this case
Yours sincerely

Discography

EP, ' A Few Songs' released November 2008. Tracks are available to listen to on myspace.

Set List

A typical set list includes up tempo 4/4 and 6/8 tunes plus several slower ballads. The band currently plays one or two sets of 45 minutes each with all-original songs. Current songs in the play list include: Abandon; The Black Hotel; Midnight Road; Walking Jesus’ Dog; Let’s Go Down to the Sea for Awhile; Something’s Wrong; Under This Sky; My Friend She’s Gone; Billy and Mary; A Nice Place for Dying; Not Just Now; I Walk