Benjamin Tod About
There are few that can say they’ve lived as much in one lifetime as songwriter Benjamin Tod. His music is an honest account and true testament to a life lived in grit, adversity, and desperation.
Born and raised in Sumner County, Tennessee, Benjamin began his musical career at an early age. He began street performing on lower Broadway in Nashville at 13 under the guidance of infamous Music City busker ‘Mandolin’ Mike Slusser. After being expelled from school for the 3rd time at 14, he never went back and was persistently in and out of juvenile detention. Soon after he became heavily involved in the Nashville punk scene and debuted his musical career playing bass in a gutter punk band ‘Capital Murder’ at the age of 15.
In the next two years, Benjamin would squat with the local homebums and transient train riders who would teach him the rules of the streets and the road. He learned lessons the hard way, being introduced drugs and chaos at an early age.
At 17, he hopped a train out of Nashville with his now wife Ashley Mae and continued playing folk and country music between the train yards and truck stops to keep a full belly. A year and a half later he had been to jail in four states, been coast to coast on freight trains, earned money every way imaginable and fallen in love with the road, the needle and the bottle.
At 19, Benjamin joined Barefoot Surrender, a folk/punk act that ended in a bar fight and hotel brawl less than a year later. Not missing a beat, he began Lost Dog Street Band with his wife, Ashley Mae, and their yellow lab, Daisy.
While on the road with Lost Dog, Benjamin met two souls who would go on to shape the course of his life. Shannon Jae and Nicholas Ridout. Together, the two couples formed street-quartet Spit Shine, writing and singing haunting songs about addiction, heartbreak, and death. In the spring of 2013, Nicholas, Benjamin’s best friend and road dog, took his own life. Molded by the pain of the following months and years, Benjamin has worked ceaselessly to carry the torch that Nicholas left. Song after song. Show after show.
From the ashes of these years came Benjamin’s powerful debut solo album, “I Will Rise.” A raw and emotional portrait of the singer’s battle with addiction, relationships, and will to live, the pain of each track coalesces into the title mantra, “I Will Rise.” This album is perhaps Benjamin’s most mature work to date. Beyond simply steeping in the darkness, he proves to the listener that though he has truly been to hell and back, there is still a reason to push forward.
His upcoming solo album, ‘A Heart Of Gold Is Hard To Find’ is another work that wouldn’t be out of place alongside the collections of the great American songwriters that inspired his sound in the first place. With a mix of new original songs, all of which feature his trademark lonesome sound, he manages to keep things from stagnating by including unexpected new arrangements of familiar Lost Dog songs. With the release of this album and albums like “I Will Rise” and his countless other projects, Benjamin has proven himself to be more than just another troubadour, tramp, or outlaw. He is one of the great American songwriters of our time.