Royal Benson
Gig Seeker Pro

Royal Benson

State College, Pennsylvania, United States

State College, Pennsylvania, United States
Band Alternative Jam


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music



"This past Saturday night, Royal Benson brought their infectious groove rock to Ye Olde Meeting Place in Milton, and weÕre here to tell you ... this is a band not to be missed! Featuring the noticeable musical talents of Matt Fern, Adam Tarin, Mike Fortunato, Jordan Thompson and Tim Myers, Royal Benson is fast becoming a local fav, and for great reason. Infusing funk, jam and rock influences with modern power pop sensibilities, Royal Benson crafts interesting, dance-inducing, feel-great original music ... as well as performing a few, well-chosen covers. Royal Benson regally rocks!!!" - BillTownLive

"By the Professor Jim Price"

By "The Professor" Jim Price • PA Musician • 04.30.10

Royal Benson released their first CD, (long)Drive, in late April. One of the group's release celebrations took place at Cafe 210 in State College. Keyboardist Adam Tarin and guitarist Matt Fern both sing; joined by sax/flute player Michael Fortunato, bassist Tim Myers and drummer Jordan Thompson craft an adventurous fusion of jazz, funk, blues and rock through original songs such as "(short)Drive," "What She Gets," "Red Maple" and more. Royal Benson also played a wide variety of cover material; their improvisational and vibrant approach bring excitement to renditions of Traffic's "Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys," Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight," Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al," Grover Washington, Jr.'s "Just the Two of Us," Boz Scaggs' "Lowdown" and more. Royal Benson's musicianship was exciting and top-notch, with Adam, Michael and Matt constantly lighting things up on their instruments individually, and mixing things up together into heated crescendos. Royal Benson offers a fresh and exciting sound; watch for them on stages throughout the state.

08.14.09...during Arts Festival weekend in State College, I caught my first look at Royal Benson, performing at Bar Bleu. Comprised of singer/guitarist Matt Fern, singer/keyboardist Adam Tarin, flutist/woodwinds Michael Fortunato, bassist Tim Meyers and drummer Jordan Thompson; Royal Benson entertained a busy room with a sound that wove elements of R&B, jazz and rock into tight, often improvisational, original grooves. Mixing original compositions with groove-infused covers, Royal Benson kept things captivating with Tim's and Jordan's inventive rhythms, and Matt, Adam and Mike's frequent interaction and nip-and-tuck on their instruments... - PA Musician

"Bellefonte Gazette review of (long)Drive"

By Don Bedell • 04.24.10

The members of Royal Benson want you to know they are a band, not a person. There's no one named "Royal" or "Benson" in the group. And, they also want you to know that they will release their debut CD at a CD Release Party Saturday night (4/24) at Bar Bleu in Downtown State College. Royal Benson is a 5-piece band with members from State College, Lewisburg and Harrisburg. Together since 2007, the band has been described as Jazz Pop or Jazz Rock. But, as keyboardist Adam Tarin says, "I think our goal is just to write really good music without conforming to certain modern music trends, or cliches for that matter." Tarin goes on to say that they're not a jam band, but more of a progressive rock band with jazz overtones along the lines of Steely Dan or Dave Matthews Band.

The band is made up of Tarin on Keyboards and Vocals, Matt Fern (Guitar & Vocals), Michael Fortunato (Woodwinds/Flute) and Jordan Thompson (Drums) from State College and Tim Myers on bass. Live shows are mostly made up of original songs. Tarin says, "We don't do a song unless it has a purpose whether it's original or a cover tune. Our main goal is to have a good time and to really offer something that's a higher level than people are used to hearing at a small bar."

Tarin says that the recording for this debut CD was a long time coming. They recorded at After 7 Studios in Mechanicsburg, owned by one of the members of the band Hybrid Ice. The band basically stopped playing shows in November of last year to focus on recording the CD and went into the studio in January. "With the scheduling nightmare that comes with all of us being about 60 miles apart in every direction," Tarin remembers, "we had to do it in about a 4 day period." The recording included marathon sessions from about 10am to Midnight each day. "All in all, it turned out really well. It's definitely the best thing I've been involved in and I think everybody's really proud of it."

Being an original band in a town that seems to love cover bands, Tarin admits is a "double edged sword." He says, "We've been playing State College for three years and I donÕt think anybody's really cared about us until this past year. It's [State College] extremely hard to get into. And as an original band, it's next to impossible. In every bar that's given us a shot, we've proven ourselves as an original band that we can hold our own in this town and all we need really is a shot. We've done pretty well in the past year proving that."

Along with the release of the CD, an 11 minute documentary will be released that chronicles the recording experience and a spoof on "Who is Royal Benson?" A new website will also accompany the CD release featuring a music video for one of the songs on the new album called "Ohio." And Tarin says, "We're just going to try and play as much as possible and let this record hopefully speak for itself and reach as many people as possible. We're going to playing in Philly and Pittsburgh this summer and we're going to try and get back to New York too. The goal for me is once We've got all this stuff in the can, we want to spend some time writing new material. I think we're all ready for that!."

The debut CD is entitled (long)Drive and features 12 original tracks in their signature jazz/pop/rock style. (long)Drive opens with "Red Maple." Immediately, I drew a comparison to a Scottish band from the mid-80's called "Danny Wilson." Much in the same vein as Royal Benson, Danny Wilson was a band, not a person, and their music was a pop/rock style with jazz overtones. Other highlights included the Ben Folds-esque "Ohio" and "What She Gets" which is jazzy with hints of Dave Matthews. Another of my favorites is "Worth All The Time" which harkens back to one of my favorite Steely Dan albums "The Royal Scam." If you like Steely Dan, Ben Folds Five and Dave Matthews Band, you will certainly enjoy Royal Benson. It's keyboard driven with strong bass lines and percussion interwoven with smart guitar and woodwind hooks. The production value is top notch as well. (long)Drive is a great debut effort for Royal Benson. - Bellefonte Gazette

"Pa Musician of (long)Drive"

A collaboration of musicians from State College, Lewisburg and Harrisburg, Royal Benson takes listeners on a bright and diverse musical journey on their debut album "(long)Drive." Over the discs' dozen tracks, Royal Benson mixes funk, rock and jazz flavors into a tasty stew of sounds recalling the pop fusion adventures of Steely Dan, Dave Matthews Band and more. Built around clever and catchy melodies, Royal Bensons sophisticated arrangements allow Adam Tarin's keys, Michael Fortunato's saxophone and flute, and Matt Fern's guitar to shine individually; while working in tandem to surround, shape and accent each song. Drummer Jordan Thompson and bassist Tim Myers underscore and drive the songs with precise, busy, multi-tempo rhythms. The song variety ranges from mild-mannered, pleasant exercises like the disc opener "Red Maple," the flute-accented "Ohio," the uplifting "Look Around" and the piano-driven disc-closer "Turning Table"; to feistier and funkier excursions like "Game", "What She Gets", "Grind" and "Worth All The Time." The piano-powered "Partner in Crime" take son a more light-hearted and playful tone, and Royal Benson exhibits leisurely improvisation on the jazz/pop-driven tandem of "(short)Drive" and "(long)Drive." The performances are string and tasteful throughout the disc, with spirited instrumental execution delivered with gusto, topped with Tarin's and Fern's smooth, clear and soulful voices. Produced by the band and Jason Shaffer at After 7 Studios in Mechanicsburg, "(long)Drive" pays attention to sonic detail even in its mildest moments, with tight arrangements that leave no empty spaces. The mix is clear and balanced, allowing each instrument and voice to shine. Mixing melody, texture and dazzling musicianship, Royal Benson's "(long)Drive" provides a scenic, sonic journey well worth undertaking. This is a stunning debut, and one of the best discs to emerge from the area music scene this year. - Pa Musician

"Goth Review: Royal Benson"

Goth Review: By Spike and Goth Woman • 10.25.10

SPIKE: Royal Benson is definitely for fans of sophisticated pop/rock in the Steely Dan/Prefab Sprout mode.
GOTH WOMAN: The Royal Benson sound is rather un-trendy, at least for the blues-country-jazz-classic rock leaning Susquehanna Valley where they're from. Yet, just about anyone who comes in contact with Royal Benson can't help but find something to enjoy about them, from their very pleasing vocals, to their sense of song craft, to their diverse musicianship-with an emphasis on rhythm section, Bill Frisell-like ambient guitars, and saxophone. Sometimes, the way they mix the saxes reminds me of The English Beat circa 1980.
SPIKE: The songs tend toward the long side. They don't quite go off on progressive-rock tangents (maybe they save that for the live show). They almost go over the cliff with that, but hang on to the top with a well-constructed song template.
GOTH WOMAN: The memorable tunes are "Red Maple," "What She Gets," and "Drive," presented in two variations, long and short.

SPIKE: This is music you can listen to like an onion. Every time you take down one layer, you find another. -


2007, the first Royal Benson demo, never officially released.

2008, Meet Royal Benson

2010, (long)Drive

Long Drive was their first full length album, containing 12 original tracks. Did receive radio air play in the Central Pennsylvania region. And was reviewed by several regional music publications and will be featured in Relix magazine in the 'On the Verge' section. This album is available on itunes, Cd baby and other various music distribution sites.



Let's just start it like this: Fern and Tarin have been writing, recording and performing music together since '95...Fern, Fort and Jordan met while involved in the 7-piece powerhouse Cootie Brown... and through a mutual friend-in-music, Tim Myers was encouraged to fill the subsonic void. The rest, as they cliche!

Our influences range from the uniquely intelligent song design of Steely Dan to the blah blah blah about Ben Folds

What sets Royal Benson apart is their sense to put the music first. While all the members of Royal Benson have great speed, tone and technical ability, the each realize how they fit in to the puzzle and that not every moment is their time to shine. It is an ever present sense of each members place in the sonic blend of the music. The sound is full and broad while remaining clear and defined, allowing each and every musical nuance to speak out.

Guitaris and Key Board players, Matt Fern and Adam Tarin have been playing together since their teenage years, and were planning a recording session in February 2007. At this time the 19 year old youngster, Jordan Thompson sat in on drums with them for their studio session. All parties were very satisfied with the final product. After playing for a year and a half as a three piece, finally bassist Tim Meyers made his way into the mix in 2008. It was a no-brainer, Tim was the obvious match that Royal Benson had been waiting for. By February 2009, saxophonist Michael Fortunato (who had been sitting in occasionally since early 2008) finally signed on as a full member and since then Royal Benson has been rocking stages as a five piece. Royal Benson has played venues from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia to New York City while also playing a weekly spot at Penn State's University Park Campus among other various shows.