The son of a classical pianist mother and a harmonica-playing father, music has been a  constant for Ben Balmer. He started playing harmonica at 13 in his hometown of  Ypsilanti, Michigan, and by 16 was playing guitar and performing club gigs across the region.

    Balmer’s early listening was as eclectic as it gets and encompassed everything from Bela  Bartok to The J. Geils Band. Over time, his musical influences expanded to include Fiona Apple, Taj Mahal, and Tom  Waits. He’d play along to his dad’s blues records, especially  Sonnyboy Williamson and Paul Butterfield. Following his dad’s lead, Balmer took harmonica lessons from Grammy Award-winning player, Peter “Madcat” Ruth. As a teenager, Ben began his 10,000 hours of live performances, singing in a local band (Comatose Collin) and playing harmonica for Motown legend, Martha Reeves.


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