photo by Jim Dombkowski

Benny Bleu sees the world through the eyes of a scientist. While studying geology at Cornell and USC, he learned to feed the flame of curiosity that burns deep within. This applies no less to the soundscape he grew up in than to the landscape. As a geologist, Benny can tell you how the influence of the mountains of old Appalachia have shaped his homeland, the Finger Lakes region of New York State. As a banjo player, he can show you how the music has too. His career is dedicated to purveying honest acoustic roots music, not for the sake of revival, but as a living, breathing community experience in the here and now.

An award winning banjo player (1st place at two popular NY roots music festivals: GrassRoots 2016 and Oldtone 2019), a square dance fiddler, and a cherished songwriter, Benny Bleu lives up to the truest form of folk music – made by the folks, for the folks. His hypothesis: building connections with nature, each other, and our history through music makes for a richer future. Simple, testable, repeatable.

He has been a dependable bass player since childhood and in the 2010s became well known throughout Western New York State as he added banjo to his arsenal, playing in regionally adored bands including The Brothers Blue and The Crawdiddies. In 2019 he released his first solo album, ‘Warm Prickly’, as his own full-fledge force of folk adding old-timey fiddle and finger style blues guitar to the mix. And this year he will offer his newest project: ‘Swatting the Flies’ on June 18, 2021 which features Cajun-tinged songs and trance-like instrumental tracks. Here’s a clipping from the his album notes:

“Amidst the pandemic of 2020 I made some recordings. And during the Great Inoculation of 2021 my best friends helped me augment and add to those recordings. We bonded and connected (and sometimes lamented) in groove. Let these songs help you focus on the good stuff. The ancient stuff – the cosmos and your body’s relation to it. Maybe while hiking or cooking or yoga or eye contact with your dog. Each song on here I wish could be the last song. They’re all last songs. Remember that as you listen.”

Prounouns: he/him/his

Zodiac: Some of the stars that were behind the sun the day Benny Bleu was born make up the constellation Taurus, which is a bull. It looks like this on the internet.

Chinese Zodiac: The year that Benny was born occurred during the portion of Jupiter’s orbital period which, according to Chinese folklore, is represented by an ox. It looks like this on the internet.

Myers-Briggs Type: INFP. On the internet, INFPs often look like this.

Favorite food: pierogies.

Alter-ego: Recording engineer at Circus Tent Studio.