Gone to Bolivia
Singer/songwriter Ben Sures is a winner of numerous songwriting contests including the John Lennon songwriting contest and the International songwriting contest. He has traveled far and wide across this country performing at Festivals, small clubs, fairs, town squares and living rooms. He is well known for his work on CBC Radio as part of 'The Irrelevant Show' as well as the many interviews and broadcasts on Canada Live, The Round Up, Morningside, Madly Off in all Directions, The Vinyl Café and more. Ben is a songwriter extraordinaire and terrific guitar player who draws you in from the opening words. A unique perspective, a great story, good melodies and heartbeats are what make up this artist's engaging performances. Ben learned his performing skills and musicality from the Winnipeg school of folk music and his professor was Mitch Podolak. "I was raised at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, the West End Cultural Centre and the dinner table of Mitch Podolak. I knew at 16 years old, the first time I went to the folk fest, exactly what I wanted to do with my life and what kind of music I wanted to make; people's music, steeped in deep roots, with tone, melody, heart and a good story. At eighteen, I worked at 'Homemade Music', the record/instrument and music school run by the Winnipeg Folk Fest, where I worked the till and also taught guitar. One student was a 12 year old boy named Luke Doucet. I was privy to all these great records the average teenager would have never found anywhere else; Woody Guthrie, Stan Rogers, Greg Brown, Mississipi John Hurt, Cathy Fink and Duck Donald, Ry Cooder, Odetta, Pete Seeger, Richard Thompson, The Grievious Angels and many more. It was a truly great time for me and the foundation of my music and values. Later, I worked as a janitor and set up the hall at the West End Cultural Centre. I saw Taj Mahal, Greg Brown, Fred Eaglesmith, Lynn Miles, Weeping Tile, Connie Caldor, Garnet Rogers and hundreds of other roots music icons. It shaped and stirred me, and the mention of the West End Culch, or even driving by when visiting Winnipeg for a show, fills my heart with love and nostalgia for this historic music venue that was so much a part of my upbringing. At Mitch's dinner table, where strangers were always welcome, I experienced many kitchen performances such as Bill Bourne, and heard James Keelaghan playing new material before it was released. I watched his son, Leonard, grow from teenager to the gifted and very successful leader of The Duhks and other projects. I heard countless stories of music and revolutions and crazy adventures. These are my roots, drenched in the music history of Winnipeg. Duck Donald was also a big part. At 15 he would sneak me in to the bars to see him performing with Big Dave McLean and Gord Kidder." Ben now plays Duck's D28 that sat in his widow's closet for 20 plus years. Don Kerr, producer of Ben's latest album, calls his songs, 'little energy bars', and James Keelaghan once declared him, 'the bravest songwriter in Canada!' He has four acclaimed recordings to his credit and is also the current semi-regular music guest on CBC Radio's nationally produced sketch comedy program 'The Irrelevant Show,' which is consistently in the top five national podcast downloads. Ben has appeared eight times at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, and has also performed at Edmonton, Regina, Brandon, Calgary, the North and South Country Fairs, the Islands Folk Festival, Live from The Rock, Northern Lights and many other festivals, hundreds of house concerts, bars and a smattering of folk clubs. The last concert Ben performed in Saskatoon was filmed as a pilot for what became an SCN TV concert series called 'The Neighbour's Dog'. He has worked as a commissioned songwriter for Canada's national broadcaster, CBC radio, in Winnipeg, Vancouver and Edmonton, and done music for film and television, including Sesame Street. In addition, he has played guitar with many great Canadian artists, including Rita Chiarelli, Paul Reddick, Angie Nussey, The Wyrd Sisters, Tim Williams, Emma Cook, Michelle Rumball (Grievious Angels), and many more. He has performed as a support act for Ray Davies of The Kinks, The Preservation Hall band, The Good Lovelies, Lynn Miles and every other semi -famous Canadian folk hero. His soon to be released 'Gone to Bolivia' album was produced by Don Kerr, and features Juno award winners The Good Lovelies, members of The Creaking Tree String Quartet, Michelle Rumball (Grievious Angels) and more.