From Benny C and the Associates
Benny C & the Associates combine the thump of true blues and soul with an eclectic mix of influences from funk to folk.
Fronted by the enigmatic Benny 'C' Cunningham who's vocal tone and guitar playing is straight from the pages of classic blues and 60's funk BC&tA's bring passion, lyrical honesty and an intense musical dynamic to every performance.
Ben's first musical experience was as a bass player with a group of mates just out of high school in Adelaide South Australia. The lead singer of that band and long time friend Mark Hosking recently said 'people would come and see the band and say to me "you should get that dude to sing" speaking of Ben.....not a great accolade for me, but we knew Ben had something unique even then'. Ben's early influences were some what unusual for a teenage kid from the southern suburbs of Adelaide. While most of his friends we're listening to Aussie pub rock Ben was developing his style from a variety of relatively unknown US blues and soul vocalists and guitarists such as BB King, Rick James, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Prince and P-Funk.
BC&tA's came together at the end of 2013 in Adelaide, South Australia (origin of some other great Aussie acts such as AC/DC and Cold Chisel to name just 2). The band also features the amazing Angela Portolesi, who's vocals and lyrics both subdue the soul and pierce the heart, along with the power rhythm section of Steve Portolesi on Bass and Kelvin Sugars on drums. Added to this are a bunch of music 'buddies' including 'Sweet Pete' Lymbo on guitar and the incredibly gifted Greg Jones on keys and sax as the Associates.
The pending release of their debut album 'Red Dress' due out in early 2015 started with a group of songs being written in January 2014. What had initially planned to be a locally produced 'sampler' EP soon took legs with a fully fledged album being tracked in various studios around Adelaide's from April to June. Things really began to take off for the guys from this point. Upon seeing the Alabama Shakes on the Grammys the band took a punt at approaching their producer Andrija Tokic who's based in the ever increasing musical and arts hub of East Nashville (Andrija also recently produced and recorded the latest album from Hurray for the Riff Raff which subsequently was nominated by Rolling Stone Mag as a top 20 'must listen' album of 2014). Andrija liked their stuff and the album was mixed in July 2014 featuring some of Nashville best musos including the amazing Ikey Owens from 'Jack White' on keys.
The band rounded out an inspired 2014 by winning the ARBA/SA Blues & Roots Association 'Most Outstanding New Act' award.....quite an achievement considering the band had been together for less than 12 months, but this award highlights the impact their first impression has on you.
The band is planning a big 2015 in support of the album with shows in most major and regional venues around Southern and Eastern Australia. Their first tour of the States is planned for June starting with shows in Chicago.
Keep an eye out for these guys and be sure to catch them live. Also check the website or FB for the latest news on album release dates, tours and everything 'Benny C & The Associates'.