One to Watch: Benjy Ferree


Benjy Ferree, “Pisstopher Crisstopher”

Benjy Ferree was one of my most anticipated shows of SXSW and my most disappointing. Imagine stumbling upon this track in the myriad of bands you’ve researched for SXSW, then arrive at an acoustic show. I was a disappointed, but not deterred.

After Austin, I dug into Ferree’s sophmore release Come Back to The Five & Dime, Bobby Dee Bobby Dee.  The track, “Pisstopher Crisstopher”, that led me to him has been on repeat since Austin and will definitely make my ‘Best Songs of 2009’ list. (Can you hear Jack White in there?) Expecting to hear more of this hard-driving rock, I was a bit thrown by the hodge podge of genres on the album – a little rockabilly one minute then some Americana, du wop and rock the next. Not that it was bad, it was just a little confusing.

Then I learned the story behind the album, Come Back to The Five & Dime, Bobby Dee Bobby Dee, and it started to make a bit more sense.  It’s a concept album inspired by the childhood actor, Bobby Driscoll, who from the age of 6 to 16 was the most acclaimed childhood actor of his time (’50s).  Then he grew up, stopped being cute, and ultimately died alone at the age of 31 in his Manhattan apartment. His body went unidentified and was buried in an unmarked grave – so the story goes.

Ferree, himself a failed actor, used this story as inspiration for the album.  Going so far as trying to recreate the appearance of Driscoll on the cover of his album.  An interesting story, to say the least.  Knowing this definitely gave more clarity to what I was listening to, especially the 50s du wop and rockabilly influence. I’m just not convinced he nailed the execution. There are, however, some real gems on the album that make we wonder what he can do when he’s not caught up in playing to a concept.  I will be watching him, and waiting to find out.

Mixtape: SXSW Picks, Part 1


My rock-n-roll vacation is just days, hours away.  I’ve been combing the line up of 1400 bands for weeks now. My list is made, I’m checking it twice and trying to keep the panic at bay as I struggle to find a way to fit it all in. 

SXSW is the equivalent of Mecca for the indie music junkie, like me. It’s the place you go to discover the best new artists everyone else will be listening 6 months or a year from now, depending on where you fall on the music curve.  And already I’ve found some gems.  Here’s a sample of a few bands I’m particularly excited to see. Believe me, there are many, many more.  Some of them are classics reunited – like Echo and The Bunneymen and Red Red Meat – others somewhat establish, but most are new to the scene and trying to break out.  Enjoy!

the OCMD SXSW Playlist #1

1. Benjy Ferree – “Pisstopher Christoper”
2. Obits – “Pine On”
3. Abe Vigoda – “Don’t Lie”
4. New Villager – “Rich Doors”
5. Foreign Born – “Vacationing People”
6. Iran – “Buddy”
7. Red Red Meat – “Gauze”
8. Wheat – “El Sincero”
9. Echo & The Bunnymen – “Killing Moon”
10. Handsome Furs – “Dumb Animals”
11. Wintersleep – “Drunk on Aluminum”
12. White Lies – “Death”
13. Let’s Wrestle – “I Won’t Lie to You”
14. The Transpersonals – “Twenty Twelve”
15. White Denim – “Mess Up Your Hair”