Ben Balmer

Performed in Sofar Toronto

Born in the Detroit area, Ben Balmer grew up singing along to his Dad’s old Motown and Chicago blues records, and started playing harmonica at 13, and was performing on guitar by 17. During high school, Ben became the lead singer and harmonica player in Ann Arbor indie-rock band Comatose Collin. Despite being the band’s youngest member, his “soulfully sweet” voice (Detroit Metro Times) stood out. In 2006, the University of Michigan hired him to write music for a theater production performed at the Chekhov International Theatre Festival in Moscow, Russia. In 2008, Ben set out with his steel guitar and harmonica to pursue a solo career. He now makes his home in Austin, Texas. Influenced by Paul Butterfield, Fiona Apple, Elliot Smith, Aretha Franklin and Tom Waits, Balmer's songs seamlessly cover a mix of genres, from singer/songwriter to soul to indie rock. His blues harmonica and rootsy fingerpicking showcase songs of the most innate human emotions: the innocence of young love, the loneliness of travel and the dark sides of faith and addiction. His lyrics “speak of the road, love, little joys and what seem almost like reworked parables of the way the world works" (Verde News) calls his vocal work “charismatic,” describing how Ben adjusts to the feel of each song, “and as such, becomes not the feature of the song, but a true part of the music." Ben’s first full length album, Dug In, was released in June 2012; his latest, Loose Lips, Sunk Ships, Bruised Hips, And Booze Sips came out in January 2016.

Videos by Ben Balmer