Ben Prestage | One Crow Murder

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Blues: Slide Guitar Blues Folk: Angry Moods: Mood: Upbeat
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One Crow Murder

by Ben Prestage

The best album to-date, from the world's greatest one-man-band. Finger-style guitar, Dobro, Lap-Steel, Harmonica, Diddley-Bow. This is real Original American Roots music.
Genre: Blues: Slide Guitar Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Tell the Devil I'm Gone
5:34 $0.99
2. Amsterdam Rag
3:28 $0.99
3. The Ballad of Ray and Ruby
4:08 $0.99
4. Take Sick and Die
4:20 $0.99
5. One Crow Murder
5:37 $0.99
6. When I 1st Met You Baby
4:09 $0.99
7. I Wish I Was in New Orleans
4:55 $0.99
8. Shine, Moon
5:12 $0.99
9. If You Want Me to Love You
5:58 $0.99
10. 3 Hots and a Cot
3:59 $0.99
11. See What My Buddy Done
3:20 $0.99
12. Fishin' in the Dark
3:11 $0.99
13. Hoot With the Owls
5:32 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Ben Prestage has performed his brand of homegrown, American Roots Music and Down-Home Southern Blues, across the United States from the prestigious King Biscuit Blues Fest in the Mississippi Delta to the reknown Merlefest in the Appalachian Mountains his original approach to this music has earned him invitations to perform in Europe, the UK and Africa. This is very original music steeped in tradition. Any fan of Blues, Americana, finger-style guitar, dobro, lap-steel, or diddley-bow will find this album an island in the sea of today's Blues, and Roots Music.



to write a review

Blues Revue Magazine

Rev. Keith A Gordon
The "one man band" has a long, respected tradition in Blues music. After all, what was Charley Patton doing, back in the day, holding crowds in the palm of his hand with his percussive guitar-slapping and foot stomps? Lately, the solo performer has all but disappeared from the Blues landscape, although the tradition may find new life in the form of Ben Prestage... Prestage's songwriting is mature and effective, his vocal self-assured and displaying an authentic Southern twang that wraps warmly around his lyrics like kudzu vine.

So why should the average Blues fans consider checking out "One Crow Murder?" How about "The Ballad of Ray and Ruby," a haunting tale of love and violence in the Mississippi backwoods, Prestage's Howlin' Wolf-styled growl accompanied by some sweet slide guitar; or the forceful title track, gruff vocals and elegant acoustic guitar play delivering a Dylanesque rap thanking the fans. In contrast, "Wish I Was in New Orleans" offers up some funky soul with a Louisiana swing and descriptive lyrics.

True, the one man band may be an anachronism in this day of screaming, Stevie Ray-styled blues-rock guitars, but Ben Prestage pulls it off with talent, intelligence, and a poetic ear for storytelling. "One Crow Murder" is thinking man (and woman's) Blues, bringing Country Blues into the modern era with a style that owes as much to Tom Waits as it does to Robert Johnson.

Mark Coltrain

Living Blues Magazine
One man band Ben Prestage's 6th self-produced album, "One Crow Murder" drives along with one dusty boot in the past and one in the present. Along the way, Prestage reveals a deep repertoire showcasing everything from prewar hokum to murder ballads to protest rags to country blues. Prestage composed 8 of the 13 songs and plays an impressive array of instruments-even by one man band standards. He plays guitar, harmonica, banjo, banjo uke, lap steel, fiddle, foot-drums, and diddley-bow. The disc opens up with "Tell the Devil I'm Gone," a mover and shaker that sets the pace with Old Scratch in hot pursuit . "Amsterdam Rag" finds the one man band dazzling on the banjo uke while pleading for long and hard for legalization of the devil weed. "The Ballad of Ray and Ruby" is a vivid tale drenched in blood and "Take Sick and Die" is a traditional moaner with Ben swooning on lap steel. While the title track could serve as the one man band's theme song, bragging, "I'm a one crow murder, I'm a one wolf pack/ I'm a six drink minimum hell of a time," which sums up this effort quite well...

Przemek Draheim

Blues DJ from Poland
Love those roots music sounds. Ben’s grooves are deep and his blues are raw, just the way I like it. With a lot of talent when it comes to the one-man-band-ensemble and songwriting skills that match many of the blues classic acts Ben is a true force on today’s blues scene. A fantastic album!

Matt Marshall, American Blues Scene

Sure to become one of the most celebrated albums of 2011!
In brief, Ben Prestage plays fine roots music with a one man band twist. His latest album, One Crow Murder, is a diverse work that shows off his well-honed multi-instrument craftsmanship. Murder takes the listener on an exciting trip that spans the breadth of the South’s many influences. Listening to the album, one would never know there was one person playing all of the instruments at once. The drum patterns alone, with the majority of a full drum set playing at any given time, is enough to make one doubt. Yet, Prestage spent a great deal of time busking on the famous Beale Street in Memphis, honing his one man band art form.

The first track, “Tell the Devil I’m Gone”,  has the slide guitar feel & grit of Delta Blues and leaves the listener singing it’s wildly infectious chorus long after the song ends. Ben’s take on the traditional “Take Sick and Die”, despite the humorously macabre subject, is a slide guitar foot stompin’ good time. The gumbo of roots spans across  Vaudevillian, Appalachian, Delta, and even devotes a song to New Orleans with the aptly named “I Wish I was In New Orleans”

As with all true roots musicians, Prestage is a talented story teller. Original tracks such as “The Ballad of Ray and Ruby” and “Three Hots and a Cot” tell sometimes dark, sometimes humorous tales of dynamic characters.

Ben is one of the most tenacious and well respected musicians in his class, taking home 4th, 3rd, and 2nd in three consecutive years at the International Blues Challenge and piling up awards for his Didley Bow and unique playing styles. With it’s uncompromising, infections sound, One Crow Murder is sure to become one of the most celebrated albums of 2011.

Michael Weishaar

Finally, music worth buying
To be honest, I don't even really remember the last time I bought music. And I love music, but it has to be interesting or be real. The last music I bought was from Clutch, because I just get a feel from their stuff. And buying/listening to music has never been easier either. In the last 5 years, I haven't heard anything anywhere that made me say "I have to listen to more of this!" It all just seems so disposable. Then I saw a video of Ben Prestage playing "Confusion Spinnin' Around" on YouTube. I was utterly blown away, and an hour later I had found his site, and then bought the download version of One Crow Murder. These days you don't really see the true artist, the ones that kind of buck the system. I've seen comments about how amazing Ben is, why don't we see him in the mainstream.... Keep it that way! But reward this man for his work, and his amazing talent by buying his music and supporting him. And others like him, in whatever genre you enjoy. I don't think I need to do a review of each song, others have done that. I'm just here to say I plan to get more of his older stuff and hope he continues to create what he does for a long long time.

Eric DiLella

excellent CD
Ben was easily the best musician at the recent Chenango blues festival in upstate NY. The crowd loved him.. receiving the only standing ovations. Hope he gets to NY again. I bought this CD and was not disappointed. The next CD I buy will be live as he is a real performer.

Dave Gallaher (Microwave Dave)

stylistic variety
This Saturday (5/21) beginning at about 8:40pm CDT, you can link to:

and hear four songs from Ben's new album, One Crow Murder.

Selection was difficult because Ben has more stylistic variety in One Crow Murder than his previous albums, but I narrowed it to:

Tell the Devil I'm Gone
3 Hots and a Cot
See What My Buddy Done
Amsterdam Rag (faded out in last verse)

This is the best of the recordings I've received from Ben. Production values have been stepped up, rendering vocals both clear and textured but very listenable, and perhaps the best reproduction of one-man-band tracks to date. I doubt that anyone who hasn't tried to capture this format in a studio would realize just how demanding it is when separation of instruments is compromised by so many being played simultaneously in the same space.

Ben's assortment of technical playing skills would be enough for most artists, but adding his own rhythm section to each track in real time is a feat even more astounding when one listens to the intricacies of his guitar/banjo/diddley bow/resophonic work. Amsterdam Rag could have been hokum-ized into a snappy vehicle for the message-bearing story in the lyrics, but the guitar accompaniments rise to a flurry of rapid
cascades that quote Delta, Piedmont, Appalachian and Bakersfield motifs with more abandon than a banker's ethics. All these years of gigs have armed Ben Prestage to the teeth.

When Ben drills down into R.L. Burnside's See What My Buddy Done, none of those styles are even hinted at; his hill country by way of John Lee Hooker approach buries itself in the song via vocals, tone and technique. Thankfully, this is miles away from "drone & groan," the sadly overweening HC-derived format that is becoming so ubiqituous as to be its own genre before long, like "blues rock."

There's lots more to recommend, including Ben's artwork on the packaging. I can't imagine Tweederistas not being very happy with this assemblage.

Greg Demko

A Pleasant Surprise
...I can only say- wow- What a fantastic collection of music!
Songs that have meaning and are well written, a full band sound with some wailing blues guitar, and a voice that sounds like, like, well the blues! This is one of my favorite CD's of the year. Start to finish it has great songs.