“These are story songs. Songs about the people we grew up with; grew together with and grew apart from. This music is medicine.”
Roots grow deep in fertile soil. The sound of Uncle Ben’s Remedy is rooted in the small towns of western New York, where community still matters and music is a part of every event. The boys learned to play and sing in this small town atmosphere, giving their music the honest, back porch feel of the country music they love. Uncle Ben’s Remedy is Ben Westlund, Harmony Griffin, Shawn Huestis, Brendan O’Connor and Jimmy Royce, playing all sorts of traditional and rock n’ roll instruments and stomping the floors; all while singing their hearts out in service to the song.
Available on iTunes and Google Play and available for streaming on RDIO, Spotify and other outlets, the band released their debut EP “Yesterday’s Clothes” in 2015 and followed by releasing their full length album, “Not Far From the Tree” in April of 2016. Spurred on by local airplay of their single “Fire in the Field” on Buffalo’s Country, Classic Rock, and Alternative stations, UBR quickly sold the first 2500 copies of their record out of their converted school bus, playing every small town and honky-tonk they could find.
UBR won the Summer 2014 Battle of the Bands at the Canalside Concert Series in Buffalo before taking the 2015 Battle of Original Music (BOOM) competition, which landed them a slot at the sold out Kerfuffle on the Lake. In 2017 UBR piled in the bus and hit the festival circuit, including headlining the annual Sportsmen’s Americana Festival and the opening of the Great Blue Heron Music Festival. A finalist in the national Taste of Country Riser contest, UBR brought a huge crowd, filling the venue to capacity with chanting for the band that lasted long after the final notes of their raucous performance. As word of mouth about their performances spreads, Uncle Ben’s Remedy has been filling clubs on their own as well as sharing stages with Shooter Jennings, Pure Prairie League, Lake Street Dive, Frank Turner, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Artimus Pyle, Cake, Gaslight Anthem, July Talk and others.
Ben, Harmony and Jimmy grew up hanging out at family band practices, soaking in the sounds of John Prine, The Allman Brothers, Johnny Cash, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Merle Haggard. Even today, every family party ends in a big traditional sing along, often with Ben and Harmony’s grandmother taking the lead.
“We sort of took the long way home” laughs Westlund when talking about UBR. “We all paid our dues in rock bands while coming up”, he adds. This rock and roll background is front and center in Uncle Ben’s live show and the audience reaction. “we’ve always dug the old time country sound”, says Jimmy; “but that rock and roll energy kind of gets in your blood and it ain’t easy getting out. So we just mixed them up like a drink.”
Westlund, Griffin and Royce knew what sound they were looking for and they knew what they needed. “We knew Shawn was the best piano player around”, says Harmony. “The fact that he played 27 other instruments was a nice surprise.” There was no way they could do this without an upright bass player. “I knew Brendan from a punk band we used to play in and I knew he could sort of hold his liquor.” Shawn later admits, “to be honest, after one practice, we knew he was the guy and basically kidnapped him”
For UBR, the real magic happens when their blend of original songs and cover tunes bring audiences to their feet to dance and clap their hands. So join them - and I’ll bet you can’t resist stomping your feet and singing along. The band’s enthusiasm is contagious and at some point, you’ll realize you’ve stayed way too long!