BEFORE ME is the second album from brilliant young blues pianist/singer/songwriter BEN LEVIN, featuring performances by his musical friends and heroes Bob Margolin, Bob Corritore, and (King Records drummer)Phillip Paul. After garnering two Blues Blast Music Award nominations for his first release Ben’s Blues, Ben Levin returns with another enticing package that features his mesmerizing piano playing, relaxed vocals, and a half dozen noteworthy original songs. Listening to this album, you start to think that Levin is the product of decades of long nights in dark clubs and smoky juke joints. He has that sound, a mature perspective that comes from totally immersing yourself in the music until it permeates the deepest recesses of your soul. The reality is that Ben is just finishing his first year of college. But, make no mistake his musical apprenticeship is over. The joy he feels for the music radiates from every track, and his skillful presentation will keep you coming back for more. (liner notes)
I started playing piano when I was eight years old, and have been taking lessons with my mentor, legendary Cincinnati-based and world-renowned boogie/blues player Ricky Nye ever since. In addition to Ricky, my biggest influences are Pinetop Perkins, Big Joe Duskin, and Professor Longhair. I’ve also learned a lot from listening to the greats such as Otis Spann, Sunnyland Slim, and of course, Ray Charles.
I recorded my first album with Ricky on drums, Chris Douglas on bass, and my Dad, Aron Levin on guitar. It reflects all of my influences over the years, and my originals never stray far from my roots.