The State Of Music: Part 20: Nebraska - The Benningtons


View The State Of Music in a larger map For some reason I decided to put today's State Of Music post to the public vote. The people were literally screaming in their ones and twos as to which state I should feature next.

So here we are Nebraska, out in the great plains, home of Kool-Aid and the rather beautiful motto "Equality Before The Law"

A lot of people felt I would struggle finding a band to feature in the Cornhusker State, and I must admit when I stumbled on Omaha's The Benningtons I was a little surprised myself.

I didn't know what to expect musically, but I did not expect an almost 60's English sound tinged with a little bit of Americana. It all sounds rather beautiful indeed.

Their album "Find Love" is free to download, so why not grab it below, stick it in your MP3 player and enjoy it forever and ever. Why you are waiting for it to download why not read my interview with vocalist and guitarist Tony Bonacci

CMM: Welcome to Choose My Music. I suppose the first question is - who are The Benningtons and where in the world would we find you?

We are a rock and roll band from Omaha, NE U.S.A. The band is made up of my sister, Hannah Emsick(18) on backing vocals and keys. Micah Renner(22) on bass guitar. Ben Brich(22) on drums. Corey McDaniel(19) on lead guitar. Bobby Rubalcava(22) on 12 string acoustic guitar and myself, Tony Bonacci(28) on vocals and rhythm guitar.

CMM: How long has the band been in existence and how did it all start?

Some of us in the band were previously in another band called Hyannis. We've been playing together for about 6 years but The Benningtons specifically have been a band for about a year and a half. We formed the group when I moved back to Omaha from Lawrence, KS. The group is comprised of family and close friends so it was easy to put it together.

CMM: How best would you describe your music?

I would describe it as mellow rock and roll. Sometimes poppy and very 60's rock influenced.

CMM: How would you describe the state of Nebraska?

Nebraska is a pretty cool state. Mainly comprised of small towns throughout the state and then you have Omaha and Lincoln on the eastern border. For the most part Nebraska is a very conservative family oriented place. Omaha and Lincoln are pretty decent sized cities. Omaha actually has a lot to offer these days as far as culture, night life and entertainment. The art community although somewhat small is very supportive and is far reaching.

CMM: What is the music scene like in Nebraska right now? What the genre of choice out there at the moment?

The music scene was really booming 5-10 years back mainly fueled by bands like Bright Eyes, The Faint and Cursive. Although they continue to put out records, I don't feel it has the same momentum as it did before. Omaha's music scene is definitely still thriving though. It's just changing. The genre of choice right now seems to be chaotic sounding syth rock. It's personally not my cup of tea at all actually and I rarely make it out to these shows. There is also definitely a bunch of groups like ours that pay homage to old style music and there seems to also be a real desire for that.

CMM: One thing I am hoping to find in this series is some kind of link between where a band is based and their music. Do you feel as an artist you are influenced by your surroundings and the scene around you?

All of us in the band grew up with Saddle Creek Records being the big local thing. A lot of us were heavily influenced by a lot of that music. Even if our style isn't influenced by it I think it really got a lot of people to want to make there own music. Other than that, I don't know that Nebraska specifically adds to any sounds we have.

CMM: What other influences does the band have, musical or otherwise?

A lot of us in the band are heavily influenced by the Kinks, Beatles and other old groups. As far as newer groups, I know a lot of us love Dr. Dog, Wilco, Spoon... etc.

CMM: Could you perhaps give a run down of the music you have released so far?

We've released 2 albums on the website Bandcamp.com. Our full length album, 'FIND LOVE' and 'Find Love - The Demos'

CMM: Are you able to get out an play live much?. Where are your favourite places to play both in and out of state?

We play once or twice a month usually in Omaha. We love playing at Slowdown, O'leaver's bar, Barley St. Tavern. Places like that. We haven't had a chance to go on a tour although we occasionally make a trip to a different city to play. Kansas City was fun.

CMM: While we are on the subject of playing live, what is the worst gig you have had as a band and why?

We played at O'leaver's once and I was forgetting chords and lyrics like crazy because I got waaaay too drunk to perform. It was the biggest embarrassment!

CMM: What's next in the pipeline for the group?

I'm writing a new album now. Have 3 songs so far. I'm hoping to start recording in 3-6 months.

CMM: And finally, where can people reach out to you online and where can they get hold of your stuff?

They can 'like us' on Facebook and keep an eye on us that way or they can get our album at: http://thebenningtons.bandcamp.com/album/find-love

Dom