Over the past year or so, we have been lucky to have met and worked with local aspiring country musician, Ben Cesare. After seeing him perform at our ACM Awards Viewing Party on April 6th, I knew that I wanted to do an artist spotlight on Ben. So with our first ‘Artist Spotlight,’ I am proud to introduce y’all to Ben Cesare.
Twenty-five year old Ben Cesare was born in New Jersey in 1989 and lived in Dallas, Texas for a short amount of time before his family settled down in Acton-Boxboro in 1995. When Ben was 12 years old, he was introduced to the music of Toby Keith, and from what we can gather, Ben never looked back. Toby Keith inspired Ben and is still one of Ben’s biggest influences in his music life. He even started performing Toby Keith’s songs live when he was 16 years old. As you can see, Ben’s love of performing started at a young age and continued through high school and college as he received his degree in Performing Arts at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH.
I asked Ben why he chose country music, to which he responded,
“the first time I heard Country Music, I was on a family reunion trip to Upstate New York and I had a bunch of CDs and my old portable CD player for the ride (back before iPods, etc.). I had an old album called, “20th Century Masters Series: The Best of Country Music” and on that disc were legends like Johnny Cash, George Jones, Tracy Byrd, Sammy Kershaw and both Jr. and Sr. Hank Williams. Tracy Byrd’s “Watermelon Crawl” was the first country song I ever heard and I enjoyed the humor and the stories that Country Music tells. I also enjoy the sounds of the Fiddle and Mandolin which are big staples in the genre.”
One of the things that I really like about Ben is that he fell in love with traditional country music. He fell in love with the greats.
So far in his young career, Ben says that the venue he has enjoyed playing at the most is the Indian Ranch in Webster, MA because of the setting and the type of fans at the shows there. It was here that he got to open for Phil Vassar and The Bacon Brothers. But looking forward, like any country musician, his dream is to play at The Grand Ole Opry and The Ryman Auditorium- probably the two most historic venues in country music. But, being a local guy, he also aspires to play at Gillette Stadium one day. Who wouldn’t!? With the likes of Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, and Luke Bryan, he would be in great company of those who played at the cathedral of New England!
The diversity of his influences is apparent- from Toby Keith to Trace Adkins, Zac Brown Band, Blake Shelton, and Vince Gill to southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynrd and The Allman Brothers. His favorite songs are just as diverse from Eric Paslay’s recent hit, ‘Friday Night,’ and Randy Houser’s ‘Running Outta Moonlight,’ to Ronnie Dunn’s ‘Cost of Livin’.’ Seeing Ben perform live, he can cover nearly any song you give him. At our ACM Awards Viewing Party, he gave quite the performance and received rave reviews from the party guests. He says his music has a broad range from the deep bass-baritones like Josh Turner to the high notes of Vince Gill. But Ben states that he feels most comfortable in the baritone mid-range like his childhood influence of Toby Keith along with Blake Shelton and Zac Brown.
Some other tidbits: if Ben wasn’t a musician, he says he would like to be a chef. He recently opened for Kellie Pickler and Ben’s band and isntrumentation was actually larger than hers!
From his first concert at the Comcast Center with Brooks and Dunn with Big and Rich to that 20th Century Masters Series CD, it looks like that early country music influence on Ben was lasting and we hope nothing for the best for Ben in the future.
Follow Ben on Twitter: @BenJCesare
Check Ben out on Facebook!