Relax and let Benny enchant you at Agnes Blues and Roots
BENNY Walker's music is a breath of fresh air - a perfect combination of rhythmic/indie/soul, acoustic blues to relax and rejuvenate; matched with crisp, sexy vocals leaving you utterly tranquilised.
"Both my grandfathers were musicians," Benny says, from home-town Echuca, Victoria.
"My grandfather on mum's side was a jazz, sax and drum player and on dad's side my grandfather was a pedal, steel guitar player."
And at 86 years old, his grandfather still plays the intricate instrument.
Benny's Dad also constantly played in bands throughout his childhood - allowing him to learn guitar at home and later teaching himself by ear.
"A lot of people can sort of play a little something in our family," he says.
Clearly, there was never a dull musical moment in the Walker household growing up.
Benny says they used to pass around guitars, singing and creating harmonies.
It was heaven on earth where all the hippies and music lovers can just chill out, be whoever you are.
And learning piano at the age of eight was an added bonus - unfortunately he didn't keep to the keys and hopes to one day return to the instrument.
"The singing kind of came in my teen years, through singing in the shower as everyone does," he laughs.
But it was putting words to paper that Benny began to establish his musical career.
"I then needed melody to go with them and it just progressed from there."
To say music runs in Benny's blood is an understatement, but the talented musician is still as humble as ever, saying he feels blessed to make music a career.
"As they say - you do something you love and you won't have to work a day in your life," he says casually.
"I think for me, the first and foremost thing was doing something I enjoyed and chasing that as a passion.
"I believed if I put the work in I'd be compensated for it."
Lucky enough, Benny's dream is a reality and in future he'd love to tour Australia - do a lap or two of the country and, of course, get back to Woodford.
"And the hundreds of smaller festivals - I'd love to play them all," he says.
But nutting down a favourite, Benny picks Woodford 2010/11 and 2011/12.
"It was heaven on earth where all the hippies and music lovers can just chill out, be whoever you are.
"It's an amazing place and an amazing location.
"It kind of restores your faith in humanity with everyone looking after each other.
"It's pretty amazing to experience that."
And the experience was something Benny seems to carry with him, as he enjoys life and music to the fullest.
The musician lives right on the Murray River, enjoying a touch of skiing, wake boarding, friends, coffee and the works.
"I generally try to get up at normal people's time and walk the dog," he says, when asked about his day schedule.
He also admits to enjoying time with his two border collies, Sami, 13, and Gibson, seven months old, as well as being a CrossFit enthusiast, which completely makes sense when you hear Benny's previous job roles - gym instructor to name one.
Before stepping out in music full-time, Benny some interesting roles, some quite surprising for the laid-back character he is now.
From working in a bank for three years to driving a forklift and being a gym instructor, Benny has many hidden revelations.
"Back then I travelled around Australia - and it worked out I didn't want to work in an office the rest of my life," he says.
"Now I haven't had a day job for four years."
In the past 12 months to two years, Benny says he's definitely grown musically and with on-stage confidence, portraying passion and energy in his music.
"No-one ever taught me to write a song. But it's good to look back on how you've progressed," he says, when asked about his old tunes.
Now the artist is preparing for the next best thing - the 2014 Agnes Blues & Roots Festival, where he will catch up with old friends and share some top tunes on stage.
"I've been to Agnes once before and can't wait to get back there - it's such a beautiful part of Australia."
Benny says he's also good mates with Shaun Kirk (a fellow talent) and is looking forward to jamming and seeing if they can make their set times work in together.
"We just met on the road doing other blues festivals and gigs. We kind of have a feel for each other.
"So if we're both around on the same day, it will definitely happen," he says, in relation to a possible session.
- WHAT: Agnes Blues & Roots Festival
- WHERE: SES grounds, Agnes Water
- WHEN: Thursday, February 27 to Sunday, March 2
- TICKETS: agnesbluesandroots.com.au