Heading into the new year and preparing for a new album, we have a new name!
Introducing Ben Sparaco and The New Effect! The rhythm section is the same as it has been for most of 2017 with Anthony Quirk on drums (http://www.anthonyquirkmusic.com) and Adam Discipio on bass.
The first single from the newly named band, “There Is No Them,” will be available at all online retailers on December 6th, accompanied with the release of an in-studio video by Kyle Somers.
For December we will have guests joining us at all of our shows. Johnny Murray will join us on guitar in Knoxville on December 2nd for our appearance on WDVX’s Blue Plate Special and at Barley’s. Mike Weberman will be joining us on Tenor Saxophone, Keyboards, and Flute for our “Not Quite New Years” run from December 28-30 in Tupelo and Jackson, Mississippi and an encore performance in Knoxville at Boyd’s Jig and Reel. Our hometown show at The 5 Spot in Nashville on December 14th will feature both Johnny and Mike as well as a host of other guests.
Adam, Anthony, and I look forward to sharing this new music with you as we prepare for a very busy 2018. If we didn’t come to your town in 2017, we almost definitely will within the first half of 2018.
Check out this teaser video for the new album, shot and edited by Kyle Somers.
I’m wrapping up 2017 with some really cool shows all over the country starting next week (November 9-10) in New York City with two rare (for me) acoustic shows. November 9th I’ll be doing a set at The Bitter End in Greenwich Village at 6pm and November 10th I’ll be doing a set at Silvana in Harlem at 7pm.
The last two Fridays in November the band and I, along with many special guests, will be celebrating Duane Allman’s birthday at Soulshine Pizza Factory in Nashville. On both November 17th and 24th we will be playing one set of my original music, followed by a guest-filled second set of Duane Allman-related music, with focus on his prolific session work.
In early December we will be out in Tennessee and North Carolina (full tour TBA) with a headlining appearance at Barley’s in Knoxville on December 2nd and an appearance on WDVX’s Blue Plate Special earlier that day.
The following week I will be in San Francisco at The Fillmore with Devon Allman, North Mississippi Allstars, Duane Betts, Robert Randolph, Bobby Whitlock, G Love, and many more.
I’ll also be at The Funky Biscuit on December 23rd as part of the Brothers and Sisters family jam with Scott Sharrard (Gregg Allman Band), Marc Quinones (Allman Brothers Band), Berry Duane Oakley, and special guests The Melody Trucks Band, followed by a short New Years run with my own band.
We are also working on a brand new album, due for release in early spring with a single coming before the end of November. Stay tuned for the single, preorder info, etc.
I’ll be making my solo debut west of the Mississippi with my new band featuring Adam Gorman on guitar, Anthony Quirk on drums, and Adam Discipio on bass. They have been touring with me since we started our late spring tour and things have settled in really nicely with a lot of new songs ready to come out on this tour.
This tour includes my two appearances as part of The Deadication Festival in Northwest Montana. At 1pm on August 26th I will be playing a solo acoustic set at the outdoor festival in Columbia Falls (right on the outskirts of Glacier National Park), then my band will join me for a full two set late night show at The Great Northern Bar immediately following the festival. Our second set will be a very special Allman Brothers Band tribute set with special guests.
Another major show on this tour is our first headlining theater show at JaM Cellar’s Ballroom in Napa, CA. We have some special guests in the queue for this one that we can’t wait to announce.
All online tickets are on sale now and can be purchased under the “shows” tab. At some shows, tickets will only be available at the door.
Copies of Wooden will be for sale at all shows for $10 and a new line of T-shirts and stickers will be for sale while supplies last. Online ordering of new merch will begin after this tour when orders can be fulfilled.
“Ben Sparaco was up for his first Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park show since moving from South Florida to Nashville. At the advanced age of 19 (!!), Sparaco continues to grow as a superb guitarist and band leader. His tremendous set featured six tunes from new album Wooden. He is cut in the mold of Derek Trucks, but Sparaco is his own man in the same way that Trucks is.
Blasting off with “Make Me Feel Alone Tonight,” he was definitely NOT alone during this set. Highlights from the set included an outstanding take on original tune “Walk On the Levee” and great playing on “Mountain Jam” and “That’s It for the Other One” with some sweet note-bending. And about that jazz: Sparaco threw in a dynamite version of Miles Davis’ “So What” in the middle of “Wooden” and quoted “Volunteered Slavery” (Roland Kirk, and a Derek Trucks favorite) during closing “Cypress Hotel.”
If you are keeping track, King just turned 21, Heather Gillis is 22, and Ben Sparaco won’t turn 20 until August. The future of our scene is in very good hands, and these three represent just the tip of the iceberg.”
A surprise visit home to south Florida for two days got extended into a week and a half, thanks to good friends and good music.
Biscuit Fest 6, The Funky Biscuit‘s annual four day festival started a day earlier for me, playing a full show with Crazy Fingers on Wednesday, March 29th.
Friday brought a last minute gig of “Holloway, Collier, and Friends” featuring Ron Holloway, Roosevelt Collier, Rich Friedman and Josh Foster of Crazy Fingers, Andrew Musselman of Tchaa, Rich Conklin, and myself opening for The Main Squeeze. Here is video from that show of “In The Pines.”
Saturday saw another Crazy Fingers show that I sat in at, opening for Oteil Burbridge’s Bureau of Sabotage. Oteil, Ron, and I realized that we all shared an August 24th birthday, hence the picture at the top of this post. Here is a video of “St. Stephen” with Ron Holloway.
Sunday I did an interview/studio session with Blues Radio International and then sat in with Albert Castiglia along with Ron Holloway, Roosevelt Collier, and members of the Chris O’Leary Band to play “Sweet Home Chicago” in honor of Lonnie Brooks.
On the way back to Nashville I stopped in Macon to visit my friend Richard Brent at The Big House Museum who very generously let me spend a while with Duane Allman’s 1957 Goldtop Les Paul used on the first two Allman Brothers Band albums, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, and hundreds of live shows. Here is a short clip of the time I spent with it, from my instagram account @bensparacomusic (which also has other clips from Biscuit Fest).