bandleader, songwriter, vocals, rhythm guitar
Born in Regina, residing in Calgary, but calling the World his home, Ben Rose has been singing, playing and writing music professionally as far back as he’d care to remember.
Because Ben hates talking about himself, I’m going to tell one of my favourite stories about him.
When I first met Ben, he was singing for his supper on Stephen Avenue in Calgary, AB. He wasn’t your average busker, mind you. He set up on the Avenue on a strip where lots of restaurants had outdoor patios. He adjusted the sound perfectly so that he could play softly and smoothly and still entertain the patrons all around. The waitresses all loved him because they made more tips when he played downtown. As a result, they often put money in his case to say thank you. Because the music drew people in, the patios filled up on sunny days and grey days. People stayed longer, and ordered more, and tipped better.
I’ve seen an older gentleman walk up to Ben with tears in his eyes and tip him a $100 bill because he played American Pie. I saw people living on the street offer Ben a can of beer out of a shopping cart to thank him for the music. Ben was everyone’s favourite because he could read a crowd and knew how to delight people.
I like you because you sound like me.
Ben’s voice has often been compared to Jim Cuddy, from Blue Rodeo. Ben’s got an amazing vocal range, and a sweet and smoky style. He can go from intimate to powerful in a phrase. One lovely summer evening Jim was in town and in fact sat on one of the patios near where Ben was playing. Jim stayed through Ben’s set, and clapped with the rest of the patrons. On his way out, Ben was singing one of his favourite Blue Rodeo songs (he does several). Jim passed close by him, punched him collegiately on the shoulder and whispered, “Hey, you’ve got a nice voice.” Smiled and kept on walking.
If you like a singer who can sell a song with soul, and who can make you hear an old song like it’s something brand new, you’ll love Ben Rose.
— NZ, longtime fan.
But don’t just take it from me… Here’s Stephen Hunt, writing for the Calgary Herald, back in 2010.