Ben Prestage

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Ben Prestage performs Thursday, November 29, at the Bamboo Room, 25 S. J St., Lake Worth. The show starts at 9 p.m., and admission is free. Visit www.bambooroom.com, or call 561 585-BLUE.

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When it comes to playing Southern blues, some musicians have a stronger ear for it than others. If you really want to play it, you need an inherent ability to hear the music. When it comes to the banjo-picking and drum-thumping skills of Ben Prestage, he's got an advantage that other musicians wish they had. He's blind. OK, not really, but his great-grandmother was a vaudeville musician who toured with Al Jolson back in the day, and his aunt was a pianist who specialized in Delta boogie blues. That's a solid musical jumpstart if there ever was one, since he maintains that the only type of music played in his household when he was growing up was the blues. It's no wonder that Prestage has decided to pick up on the family trade and tour the country with his unique gutbucket-meets-Beale Street style of bluesgrass. He doesn't dive into the backwater swamp-funk that you might expect from a kid with roots in Mississippi and Central Florida, but rather he creates his own rhythms, playing the drums and banjo at the same time. He's got the gritty backwoods appeal that blues lovers, well, love. So check him out, and see what blues heritage looks like up close and personal.

 
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