LIVE from SPOT Festival 2008 Nathan James & Ben Hernandez (07:25)
ENJOY MY BUDDIES - Huggies from Viv
Nathan & Ben´s own WebSite:
☆ Here you can DOWNLOAD SONGS
☆ Here you can read their BIO
☆ Here you can Download PICS & MEDIA STUFF
☆ Here you can read STORIES & TALL TALES
☆ Here you can read REVIEWS, PRESS & ARTICLES
☆ Here you can find AWESOME LINKS
☆ Here you can CONTACT & MAIL them
ABOUT THE FELLAS
There have been many blues and roots music duos throughout the years, but none quite like the one made up of Nathan James and Ben Hernandez. Together they are taking music from the country to places its never been before while still paying homage to the musicians who laid the foundation for the American music we know today. For James and Hernandez this is music that even a modern and mainstream audience cant ignore. Its music of the people.
Both born and raised in country towns themselves, their understanding and interpretation of this music is uncanny; as if the secret came through the pipes with the water they drank growing up. From the first note to the last, their audiences find out very quickly whos in charge. The music takes the reignsthe stories and songs speak for themselves. Sometimes we dont know what the heck theyre gonna do says Hernandez.
You wouldnt think that just two people could generate this much sound, but they do. The two share vocal duties, switching off from song to song or harmonizing. They also play a host of instruments, some of them even homemade. Nathan James plays guitars, harmonica, and a suitcase foot percussion board made out of an old, light blue Skyway suitcase. With a lever system that he made himself from parts purchased at the local hardware store and an old coffee can attached to the suitcase, James creates a snare-like back beat that sends even the most accomplished drummers to the front of the stage hunting for a hidden drum machine.
Ben Hernandez plays the harmonica, spoons, jug, kazoo, washboard, and their finale piece, a big ol 17-gallon gutbucket bass. On the top of the neck of the bass hes mounted a chrome skull shifter knob he took from his old car. It talks to me, he jokes. It tells me what to play.
Often times Nathan James and Ben Hernandez get labeled as a blues act, but after hearing or, for that matter, seeing their show one realizes that this duo is much more—an all encompassing American roots music review. Blues players back in the old days covered everythingjazz, ragtime, gospel, blues, and even popular tunes of the day. They had to, to make a living. In a way, were not much different. Weve just put our own mark on things, says James.
Having played mostly smaller venues theyre resume' is not without its highlights. Nathan and Ben have performed several times with Mark Hummels Harmonica Blowout and in 2003 they performed at the San Francisco Blues Festival. For the last several years they have been favorites on the Back Porch Stage at the Doheny Blues Festival in Dana Point.
Early in 2007 they took first place in the solo/duo category of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, competing with acts worldwide. Europe came calling soon after. In April 2007 they performed a three-week tour throughout Denmark and in June they made a trip across the Atlantic again for a tour in Italy, playing the countrys most popular festivals.
July found James and Hernandez up in the Pacific Northwest performing in Portland, Oregons Waterfront Blues Festival and most recently they returned to shore after making several appearances on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise. In November 2007, was their 3rd trip across the pond- the Pacific this time; to Taiwan for the Blues Society of Taipeis Blues Bash 4.
They have been seen performing as sidemen, along with percussionist Michael Tempo, for legendary singer and harmonica player, James Harman as part of his Bamboo Porch Review. The band blends several roots genres using the gutbucket bass, guitar, footboard, harmonica and African and South American percussion instruments.
In between all these shows Nathan and Ben managed to record a brand new album that was just released under the prestigious Sacred Cat Recordings label. Hollerin! is the pairs third album and, as James says, best represents our sound live." The albums thirteen tracks pack quite a punch, showcasing the duos powerful vocals while covering the genres of blues, folk, gospel, and ragtime.
There's a lot going on for "just a duo," and as roots music venues come and go and interest in early American music rises and falls its good to know that the future of this music is being left in the capable hands of Nathan James & Ben Hernandez.