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Born the grandson of a Mississippi sharecropper, Ben Prestage has been soaked in Blues tradition and Mississippi culture since birth. Growing up in the swamps of south central Florida, Prestage began to mix Mississippi Country Blues with his own brand of Florida Swamp Blues. This muddy- water- meets- black- water stew has led him to perform from California to the Carolinas to the Florida Keys, in large festivals, every kind of bar, and sometimes on downtown sidewalks. Ben Prestage spent some time as a street performer on historic Beale Street, while living in Memphis, TN. He used to share a spot in front of the New Daisy Theatre with modern blues legends Robert Belfour (Fat Possum Records) and Richard Johnston (2001 International Blues Competition winner). Being a street musician in the “Blues capital of the South” threw Prestage’s music in a new direction. To his show, he added a cigarbox guitar (made by Memphian an one-man-band John Lowe) which has stereo guitar and bass strings that can be played independently, at the same time. Then Ben added a series of four foot pedals that can be manipulated by the heels and toes of both feet to play a drumkit. The final result is Ben playing guitar, bass, and drums while singing his own brand of Blues which leaves bottles empty and dance floors full wherever his music takes him.
ben prestage
Labeled as “one of the three best unsigned performers in the world” at the 2006 International Blues Challenge, this musical multitasker seems equally at home playing for the masses at sprawling outdoor music fests as entertaining intimate crowds at a local tavern or performing for free for passersby on the sidewalks of Key West. Still, scrap any notion of a cartoonish guy sporting a bass drum on his back and strumming a ukulele while clanging cymbals strapped between his knees. There’s nothing quaint or comical about Prestage. Wailing the blues with a frenzy and ferocity that could rival a full-blown ensemble, he delivers a passionate blend of Mississippi Delta blues and gritty swamp stomps reflective of his rural upbringing in Central Florida.

–Lee Zimmerman, New Times, Broward/Palm Beach