July 2, 2022

Renowned Blues/ Roots Duo to Perform Sunday at CT River Museum

Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons will perform at the Connecticut River Museum on Sept. 18.

Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons will perform at the Connecticut River Museum on Sept. 18.

ESSEX — On Sunday, Sept.18, at 4 p.m., the Connecticut River Museum will host roots musicians Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons for an afternoon concert on the Museum’s riverside lawn. In three short years, Ben and Joe have established themselves nationally as critically acclaimed roots musicians and award-winning acoustic blues songsters.

The duo are recent winners of the prestigious International Blues Challenge 2016 on Beale St. in Memphis TN. Rooted in their home of Seattle, Washington, they bring their unique integration of performance, folklore, and education with them to schools and communities nationwide.

Ben and Joe formed their blues duo in 2012 after performing together for two years with Renegade Stringband. The music they play is truly American inspired by early 20th-century American folk and African music.

Ben Hunter, born in the African nation of Lesotho, raised in Phoenix, Ariz., is a classically trained violinist who studied music around the world. Joe Seamons has shown a devotion to Northwest American folk music, receiving a Woody Guthrie Fellowship from the BMI Foundatio; he studied the banjo with Hobe Kytr.

Their music is one part of the Rhapsody Project, an integration of performance and teaching through public events and school workshops. Designed to bring together people across generational and cultural divides through music, Rhapsody is a Seattle-based community endeavor. “We want regular folks, especially the youth, to understand that America’s folk and blues music is not a relic, but a thriving tradition. It’s not only about the fantastical, deeply mysterious recordings that we can all hear now on records or online. Music is a playground for the imagination with no barriers to entry.”

Opening the show are local favorites Ramblin’ Dan Stevens and Clayton Allen who met Hunter and Seamons as fellow competitors at the Blues Challenge in Memphis. In a melding of diverse blues styles, Dan and Clayton have forged a unique sound, representing a wide variety of traditionally based fingerpicking with a tinge of primitive blues and early blues rock and roll. A dose of Diddly Bow and Cigar Box guitar backed with a driving rhythm and gospel influenced vocals infuse their style with an engaging rock bottom authenticity.

Stevens’ MusicNow Foundation, located in Old Lyme, was instrumental in bringing Hunter and Seamons to the area and is a co-beneficiary in the proceeds from the concert. The mission of MusicNow is to engage, enrich, and inspire young aspiring artists by providing performance opportunities, workshop programming and mentorships thereby nurturing creative and artistic growth and supporting the development of live music in our communities.

For more info on MusicNow, visit www.musicnowfoundation.org.

Concert-goers are invited to bring chairs or picnic blankets for festival-style seating on the Museum’s front lawn. Porky Pete’s Barbecue will be present serving grilled fare, and the Museum will offer a cash bar providing beer and wine.

In the advent of inclement weather, the show will take place in the Museum’s boat house.

Tickets for this event are $12, with a discount for Museum members. They can be bought at the gate or online at ctrivermuseum.org.