Run of the Mill
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Run of the Mill

Band Rock Jam


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"Getting to Know Run of the Mill"

Run of the Mill, a local fusion band, performed a show at Café La Rez on April 21st that was fit for the front porches of Appalachia, the dark halls of Birdland, the loud speakers of CBGB’s, and everywhere in between. Inspired by bluegrass, jazz, rock, and blues, Run of the Mill takes traditional music and blends it into a style all their own. The band’s unique sound is crafted by lead vocalist, mandolin, guitar, and alto sax player Ben Parker, banjo player Ben Walters, drummer Robbie D’Mauro, bassist Tim Shelburne, and pianist Sam Gingher. Throughout the evening, the band played a number of original tunes and popular cover songs. While the banjo and mandolin playing featured in traditional tunes like “Fox on the Run” and “Angelina Baker” displayed the bluegrass orientation of the band, a number of jazz cover tunes depicted the bands unique ability to take traditional jazz songs and give them their own unique sound. For example, the alto sax and piano, juxtaposed with the banjo in tunes like Miles Davis’s “So What”, blend sounds from both traditional bluegrass music and the cool jazz styles. Likewise, the creative alto saxophone interpretation of Milt Jackson’s playing in the MJQ hit “Bag’s Groove” showcased stylistic influences from both the bop and cool jazz genres. The performance of the popular jazz-bluegrass fusion band Bela Fleck and the Flecktones’ song “Stomping Grounds” displayed the technical prowess of Walters and Shelburne, in their ability to perform the incredibly challenging solos of Victor Wooten and Bela Fleck, flawlessly. Moreover, Gingher’s piano playing during performances of “Take Five” and “Take the A Train”, depicted this masterful piano player’s ability to blend the modal sound of Brubeck’s music and the swing of an Ellington tune with the Scruggs style banjo playing of Walters. In addition, the five-four timing incorporated into their performance of “Take Five” makes for a unique interpretation, overshadowed only by a drum solo by D’Mauro that could rival Alan Dawson’s improvisational skills. While each member of the band is clearly a musical talent on their respective instrument, the group manages to showcase their individual talents best as a cohesive ensemble. It became evident that the skillful communication among players also extends to the audience when a listener jokingly requested the Live song “Lightening Crashes”, and the band accordingly improvised the tune on the spot. The bands distinctive original music, blazing improvisational skills, and original interpretations of popular cover tunes left the audience dancing, singing, and cheering for more. With inspiration from so many genres of music, a Run of the Mill concert could please even the most eclectic crowd. So whether you’re looking for a jazz, bluegrass, or rock show, I recommend Run of the Mill, fit to please music lovers everywhere.

- Scott Sutton

"KUDZU Review"

Formed in 2004, Run of the Mill is a progressive bluegrass band from Chapel Hill, NC. that shows jazz, rock, and blues influences in their invigorating music. Besides banjo, mandolin, guitar and bass, the mix on “Kudzu” includes sax, percussion, keys, and harmonica. Run of the Mill’s stylistic footing
covers many moods which may be partly attributable to the band members’ expansive musical backgrounds. Ben Parker (mandolin, guitar, sax, lead
vocals) cites such broad-ranging influences as Pink Floyd, Genesis, Tony Williamson, David Grisman, Sam Bush, Coldplay, and Miles Davis.
The band’s co-founder, Ben Walters (banjo, guitar, vocals) was born and raised in Alabama with a banjo on his knee. He learned from such banjo greats as Herb Trotman, James McKinney, Ryan Cavanaugh, and various 80s rock guitarists. Walter’s currently studying piano at UNC-Chapel Hill. The self-professed “groove machine” of the quartet, Tim Shelburne (bass, vocals) acknowledges his influences are from the genres of rock, funk, jazz, and jam band music. Robbie DiMauro (percussion, vocals), originally from Montreal, has lived in Chapel Hill, NC since 1989. He’s into Latin, blues, jazz, bluegrass, and rock n' roll.

Run of the Mill enjoys challenging themselves as a bluegrass/jazz/jam fusion
group. Opening with its leisurely and mellow rock rhythm over a standard bluegrass chord progression, “Country Home” sets a stage for the envelope that is going to be continually pushed for 55 minutes. Kevin Hopkins’ dobro
brings the down home country feel to life, something that would’ve
embellished a few other pieces on “Kudzu.” Funkgrass is the best way to describe “Thought of Lovin’,” lyrically inspired by Parker’s pursuit of his girlfriend. Ben Walters’ instrumental “Heavy D,” epitomizes what Run of the
Mill is trying to do as a band -- create simple, nice sounding music that combines bluegrass technicality with complex musical theory, while not sounding overly complex. “Wooden Frame” is a love song which captures an emotion that the band’s audiences enjoy at shows. Of all the cuts, “Rambler’s Curse” has the most straightforward 4/4 bluegrass sensibility, and its definitely one of the cuts that would’ve been enhanced if the band had chosen to include some guest fiddling in the mix.

“The Dawn Treader” is one of the band’s epic pieces (nearly seven minutes) characterized again by musical complexity and tonal simplicity that successfully results in a pleasant aural experience as its time signature changes and minor 7th chords flow throughout the jam that the boys clearly have fun with. Certainly, this must be one of their crowd-pleasers in a live performance. “Carolina Girl” gives us a catchy melody in a poppy funk fashion. “Blackberry Devil” fuses “Blackberry Blossom” with “Friend of the Devil” and gives them plenty of room for personal improvisation and interpretation that even includes musical quotes (by pianist Sam Gingher) from “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Inspector Gadget.” The album’s eight-minute closer, “Temporary Cure” shows how Gingher tastefully incorporates the keys with the band’s string instrumentation and jazzgrass style. Ben Walter’s dissonant banjo provides an interesting twist as Parker sings of grabbing “one night’s companion for a temporary cure.”

Run of the Mill’s vision is to make music that is different and inspiring,
from technical, emotional, and musical perspectives. “Kudzu” demonstrates this approach, and it serves as a welcome debut for this group. Musical diversity and having fun are their fortes, and one’s got to appreciate this quest for musical treasure. Gotta laugh at this band’s moniker – run of the mill. They’re well on their way to leaving an outstanding legacy on the acoustic music field. (Joe Ross)


Demo 2005
Summer Acoustic Sessions
Backyard Brew


Feeling a bit camera shy


We are a talented group of young musicians inspired by many genres of music. We are committed to spreading fun and joy through music through exciting jams, interesting musical changes, and by enjoying the atomsphere of our crowds.

Run of the Mill is different from other bands because of its abilitiy to write incredible original arrangments and its dynamic interplay of all of its band members.