BEN RICE & THE PORTLAND HUSTLE
2019 Blues Music Award (BMA) nominee, Acoustic Album, Acoustic Artist, Best Emerging Artist Album; 2019 Blues Blast Music Award (BBMA) nominee, Acoustic Blues Album, Sean Costello Rising Star Award. Original music blends Soul, Delta-Blues, Rockabilly, Jazz, and Funk into a hearty, thoroughly satisfying Roots Stew.
"He gets it..."
- Lloyd Jones
Ben Rice's original music blends Soul, Delta-Blues, Rockabilly, Jazz, and Funk into a Roots Stew. Influenced heavily by his parents record collection, from Al Green to Alice Cooper, Teddy Pendergrass to Marshall Tucker.
His debut on the international stage in 2014, was a landmark step forward in his career from being a regional act playing primarily around the NW to a national and international touring artist. Captivating audiences and presenting himself as someone who has a lot of depth in the various soundscapes of American music, Ben is gaining fans all over the world who love his playing, singing, songs, and stage performance.
At a young age Ben began investigating Blues and its history. Starting with B.B. King and going through the various regions and time periods, he is inspired and influenced by historical figures like Muddy Waters, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, and Skip James to name a few. Ben spent his college years studying Jazz Guitar at the University of Oregon as well as classical music while also playing in the Celtic Folk ensemble and Mariachi group on campus. He is well versed in a lot of musical styles that all contribute to the unique sound of his originals.
Ben Rice has been leaving huge impressions on audiences around the Northwest and winning awards for his vocals and guitar playing for the last seven years. In 2014 at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, he left the audience speechless with a raw emotional delivery of his version of “Key To The Highway.” On his second consecutive trip to the International Blues Challenge, he made the finals in the solo/duo category and was awarded the St. Blues Guitarist award for best guitarist.
Ben Rice & the Hustle is the latest musical configuration to deliver the excellence of Ben Rice's music. The Hustle is an expansion of the trio that Rice has been playing with for the last decade. Adding instruments and singers offers up an expansion of the sonic palette Rice works with. He tapped Portland's legendary arranger Dave Mills to help orchestrate his originals. The collaboration has yielded a huge sound that is powerful and compelling. The new name, instrumentation, and sound has been a giant leap in excitement and anticipation at shows.
As a performer Ben looks to the greats for inspiration and is always striving to connect with the audience through his music and stories. He also has an interesting arsenal of guitars playing resophonic guitars and homemade cigar box guitars. More important than the visual appeal Ben has an amazing way of making these guitars sound, often bringing audiences to tears with his slide playing.
His most recent albums continue Ben's explorative nature. "Out Of The Box" is a collaboration with RB Stone where all of the songs were made with cigarbox guitars. His latest CD, "Shake a Hand", released in July 2021, shows more of the prowess for which he is renowned. Ben continues to step into the national and international scene using the vast influences of American music to fuel his performances.
"You get everything with Ben Rice: old-school blues recorded in a quality studio; 2015 International Blues Challenge finalist and then the St. Blues Guitarist Award for best guitar; a band that brings the old-school blues to life right before your very eyes (and ears) and a fun live show that will have you dancing in your seat...Ben Rice has something for everyone. A delicious audio delight."
PIERCE BROCHETTI, MUSIC CONNECTION
"Wish The World Away" isn’t your grandfather’s blues. But if you like great guitar work and new tunes that are both fresh and original with a deeply rooted traditional feel, this one’s definitely for you. Ben Rice is a young man whose star is starting to soar."
MARTY GUNTHER, BLUES BLAST MAGAZINE
2019 Blues Music Award (BMA) nominee, Acoustic Album, "Wish the World Away"
2019 Blues Music Award (BMA) nominee, Acoustic Artist
2019 Blues Music Award (BMA) nominee, Besat Emerging Artist Album, "Wish the World Away"
2019 Blues Blast Music Award (BBMA) nominee, Acoustic Blues Album "Wish the World Away"
2019 Blues Blast Music Award (BBMA) nominee, Sean Costello Rising Star Award
2018 Cascade Blues Association Muddy Award Best Male Vocalist & Contemporary Blues Act
2017 Cascade Blues Association Hall of Fame Inductee for Best Traditional Act in the Muddy Awards
2016 Two Independent Blues Nominations for Best Live Recording & Best Contemporary Blues Artist
2016 Muddy Award recipient for Traditional & Contemporary Act of The Year - Cascade Blues Association
2015 St. Blues Guitarist Award - International Blues Challenge
2014 & 2015 Traditional Act of the Year - Cascade Blues Association
2014 & 2015 International Blues Challenge Finalist -The Blues Foundation
2013 & 2014 Male Vocalist of the Year - Cascade Blues Association