In January of 2012 Ben Knight moved up to Cincinnati and decided that when he got here after being in school that it was just not for him right now. By pure chance he went to Molly Malone's in Covington, Kentucky where The Tillers were playing. Ben hung around for a little bit and began talking to Sean Geil of The Tillers. Sean told him about an open mic on Tuesday nights in which he hosted at The Crow's Nest in Cincinnati. Ben went, "religiously" as he told me, and from there was able to start doing small gigs in and around town. Then at Stanley's Pub on the "eastside" of town he met Elia Burkhart of Elia Goat and the Natural Horns. Ben approached Elia about making some music together and soon after they were gigging around town. They figured out a name had some gigs and as they were gigging they came to a conclusion that they wanted another man to come along. Again they reached out to a friend James Funk of Red Beard's Revenge who got them in touch with Jeremy Smart of Josh Eagle and the Harvest City. Four months later, after Jeremy decided it was time to move on from his friends (and still good friends) Josh Eagle and the Harvest City, he joined up with Ben and Elia which is now Ben Knight and the Well Diggers.
With Ben Knight on acoustic guitar or banjo, which he handmade, Elia Burkhart on upright bass, and Jeremy Smart on lead guitar they bring a brand of country folk music that is unique and fresh. Ben has a unique ability to bring different characters into different places and or situations into his songwriting. His picking of the banjo or guitar wraps those stories around upbeat and get ya thinkin' kind of melodies. Elia brings his accomplished bass playing with not only thumping the strings but seemingly putting some percussion behind it as well. Almost like cross sticking a snare drum as he pops and plays. And too round it all out Jeremy adds a lead guitar that has the blues and soul that isn't loud or boisterous, but just right for these Well Diggers.
I had a recent conversation with Ben and Jeremy in which I asked them both "why music?" Ben said "Music, because I'm a thrill seeker. Music, because I am romanced by what a good song can do to or for the listener and songwriter." That feeling is portrayed through his music. Jeremy said something that I have heard previously and feel myself he said "Music is a universal language. It's a cliché, but music chooses you. I couldn't stop playing (even) if I wanted to. It's in my blood. And it's a damn fine way to make a living if you can make it work. I love touring and meeting folks all over the country. Good work if you can get it." Through his lead guitar and background vocals the passion bleeds from that guitar.
These three gentleman have a chemistry through their songs. They have only been together for about a year, but through the songs and live shows you would think they had been together much longer. They evoke the blues, through Jeremy's leads, jazz through Elia's upright bass, and folk and bluegrass through Ben's acoustic and banjo. They come to us via different ways of getting there through a move, chance meetings, and different bands and through these chance encounters we get Ben Knight and the Well Digger's.
They will be touring very soon and will have their first album set to release, aptly titled “Diving Rod” on September 13th. This brand of country, folk, and blues this Well Diggers music is pure and raw. Check them out they are sure to be a good time.