Rob Benson Artist Interview
Written by Matt Zin on November 1, 2020
Hi there Rob, it’s a pleasure to take this time out to get to know about you and your music. For our audience, I am speaking with Rob Benson. He has a fabulous new album out called, “Under the Whispering Tree.” He began performing at an early age and writes pretty much all his songs. So Rob, when you refer to performing at an early age, what was that early age for you? Take us back to those days and tell us what that was like if you could.
Starting at the age of 5, I began performing at talent shows and county fairs, singing children songs such as Sesame Street songs. I continued doing those shows until I was maybe 8 or 9. At the age of 12 I taught myself guitar, and performed at that same age for the first time with guitar. I sang Mr. Bojangles, the crowd loved it, and it was at that moment that I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up!
So I was reading that you have over 500 original songs that you have written, wow. What did you do, start writing when you were two? LOL. Can you remember that very first song that you wrote?
Lol I began writing around the age of 21. My very first song was a song called Lonely Man, and to this day one of my favorite originals. Since that time I believe I’m at 550 originals.
Where are you from?
I am from upstate New York, a town called Red Hook, about 2 hours north of New York City.
Let’s talk about your new album, “Under the Whispering Tree.” Great title, can you tell us more about how this album came to be. Does the album title have a certain meaning to you?
I wanted to write a song describing how our past choices in life (good or bad) have led us to where we are now. I just needed a title. I got the title off an old episode of Gunsmoke by chance, I just thought it sounded perfect for the concept I was going for. After I wrote the song, I decided to use the same name for the album.
What is your favorite song from the album and why?
This is hard to choose, it would be either Glory And Levi or Lay Your Money Down probably. I just love how they both came out, but I could easily say I love them all lol!
I see you sing a lot of cover songs as well. That must be fun. What got you started in singing cover songs? Which one is your must favorite to play live?
To this day I perform dozens of covers. I love singing songs that people can relate to or sing along to. I tend to concentrate mostly on my favorite artists, The Beatles, James Taylor and Billy Joel.
Looking back at all the songs that you have written, which one really leaves your heart on your sleeve?
I write a lot of love songs, they are the ones that usually get the best response. I would say a song I wrote called Amen would be the one, although Glory And Levi always makes me smile 😁
How many instruments do you play and when did you pick up playing guitar. What was your hardest chord to play and are there any chords you stay away from to this day?
I play piano, bass guitar and some mandolin. But acoustic guitar is my instrument. The toughest chords for me are some of James Taylor’s favorite chords.
I really like your song, “I’ll Take Care of You.” Can you fill us in on this song?
Thank you! I also play bass guitar in a country band called Whiskey Crossing, based out of New Jersey. I’ll Take Care Of You is a song I wrote about the two leaders of the band, it is their love story. Whenever she had a bad moment happening he would tell her, “It’s ok, ill take care of you.” I had to write a song about it.
If you could change one thing about your music adventure that you might have known when you first started out, what would it be?
I would have worked harder to connect with the right people, and tried harder to promote my original music. But, I am doing well now, and have so many years of amazing memories and connections.
How would you best describe your music to a heavy metal diehard rocker?
Hmmm, I guess I would say I am like them, just quieter and unplugged haha. I’m a little James Taylor, a little George Harrison, with a hint of blues and country.
Since COVID has hit, how have you adjusted your music lifestyle?
This virus has really hurt musicians and performers. Most places I perform at were closed for months. Eventually some places opened up, so I was able to perform outside at these venues. Now, with winter coming quick, outside shows will not be possible. So I will be focusing on virtual shows, and online promotion, radio etc.
Do you have any projects coming up that you can share with our audience?
I am currently working on my next album, again with producer Peter Calo, who has produced and recorded with Carly Simon and others. This album will feature Jerry Marotta on drums, Aaron Heick on saxophone, Jeremy Chatzky on bass, and other A List musicians like Jonny Dinklage and Chris Marshak.
Well it’s been a pleasure talking with you Rob. We are coming to a close of this interview and I would like to ask if I missed anything that you would still like to talk about?
Thank you so much! A pleasure sharing my story with everyone! Please check out Under The Whispering Tree, available on all distribution sites, such as Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, Amazon Music, and other music available on Soundcloud, YouTube and more! CDs also available on robbensonmusic.com, where you can also keep track of my next album! You can also find me on Facebook (Rob Benson), Instagram (robbenson1102), Twitter (robbenson1102).
Be sure to keep in touch with us and let us know how you are doing!
T Dawn and the BTD Radio Crew.