Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sawdust Man

Before tonight, the last time I saw Ben Kweller take the stage was in the summer of 2002 at a hole-in-the-wall venue called The Shelter in Detroit (you know, the same place where Eminem battle raps in the movie "Eight Mile"). Back then he was just a skinny barely-21-year-old from Texas, garbed in a Maria Sabina T-shirt and riding high on the initial success of his first album, "Sha Sha." I remember meeting him and his girlfriend Liz after the show and offering to help them load the band's gear as I chatted away with the guys from My Morning Jacket. That all seems like a lifetime ago, so it was a trip to finally see Ben again eight years later at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor. He's 29 now, and I found out he ended up marrying that beautiful girlfriend of his and they have two little boys. Ben still rocks a mic like a vandal; I was beyond impressed with his new material and his showmanship. In fact, I'm calling it right now: I think he's got a spot in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame someday. But it's gonna take a lot of time before he can cross that finish line.

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