Local Live Music
Saturday, April 23, 2022
@ 7:30 p.m.

All are welcome to the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center for the final show in our Spring 2022 Concert Series on Saturday, April 23, 2022 featuring talented local musician Ben Ranson.  Concert begins at 7:30 and doors open at 7 p.m.

Ben Ranson is a nylon-string, finger-style guitarist and comic singer-songwriter from Sebeka, Minnesota. He calls himself a “folksinger,” but he is much more than that. At a recent performance, fans reported “laughing until they cried” as they listened to his songs about potato inspectors, love, taxidermists, garbage men, grasshoppers, and other unusual subjects.

His songs are distinguished by their irreverent attitude, realism, and rural mid-western subject matter. His rhyme and wordplay make the imagery in his songs vivid, lifelike, and funny. When asked why he would write songs about the Red Eye River, local rodeo accidents, or the cuisine of the town of Barnesville, MN, he responded, “I write about the world as I see it, where I live it, from my point of view.”

But the surprise is that such a musically and lyrically sophisticated artist would have been born in a pickup on the side of the road next to Little Pine Lake in Otter Tail County, MN. Growing up, Ben was always the guy in the band whose job it was to listen to the recording and teach the song to everyone else. A talented student (when he wasn’t playing teenage punk rock), he finished high school at sixteen. After graduating from the Berklee College of Music, where he studied performance and composition, he recorded his first album, played in wedding and bar bands, taught lessons and honed his recording skills by engineering recordings for other local artists.

Ben’s dynamic, nylon-string, finger-style guitar work features jazzy chords, counterpoint, and unusual combinations of textures. You can hear chicken pickin’, blues, and hints of jazz and flamenco in Ben’s music. Other musicians find Ben’s Travis-picking and richly textured leads reminiscent of Chet Atkins and Al Di Meola. He is notable for combining ironic, quirky songs with sophisticated guitar arrangements featuring extended solo improvisation.

Ben has toured from Boston to Austin, but his music is still rooted in central MN. He has played in hundreds of bars in North Dakota and Minnesota in rock, blues, and folk groups. He is known locally as an exceptional accompanist for vocalists. Ben has just released his second album “Red Eye River,” which can be found on Spotify, iTunes and Amazon Music. Incidentally, his song about love and taxidermy will be on his next album, but you can hear it here, live at the New York Mills Cultural Center.

A portion of the Cultural Center’s Vision Statement is “celebrating the local” and this concert is a manifestation of that vision, as we support Ben, a celebrated local artist, in advancing his music career. To help promote the recent release of his “Red Eye River” album, Ben will use this NYM Cultural Center concert opportunity to create a professional video for online promotion. Come be part of this documented live music experience in the intimate Cultural Center listening-room style space!

Tickets are $10 for adults or $5 for students. For this special “celebrating the local” show, bring a friend and get a FREE TICKET!  That’s right — buy one adult ticket, get one FREE.  Let’s fill the gallery for Ben’s live video recording! You can buy tickets online by clicking below, or pay at the door the night of the concert.

Get tickets to Ben Ranson >


Light refreshments and cash bar available.  The Cultural Center continues to observe COVID safety guidelines. Please stay home if ill. Full refunds provided if unable to attend due to illness.  Call the Cultural Center at 218-385-3339 with any questions.


This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through an Arts Tour grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.