Hampshire County natives get set to entertain at Gallery 62 West

GRAFTON—The Taylor County Arts Council is planning yet another fun-filled evening of music at Gallery 62 West. 

Brothers Ben and Jim Townsend, hailing form Hampshire County, will be entertaining patrons with old time fiddle and banjo tunes, piano, and experimental electronic music. 

Ben will also be screening his new documentary, “2 Guys Named Ben,” about his cross-country bike trip.

Born and raised in Hampshire County, West Virginia, multi-instrumentalist Ben Townsend has studied and performed traditional Appalachian music extensively. 

With banjo mentors such as Riley Baugus and Ron Mullennex, and fiddle mentors such as Dave Bing, Joe Herrmann and Earl White, Townsend has studied a variety of old-time traditions ranging from the archaic, haunting fiddle of his home region to the round peak music of North Carolina and Virginia to the bluegrass of East Kentucky and Ohio.

Local Cindy Rubenstein, who has heard Ben play before, said of the performance, “He is excellent.”

Townsend’s most recent project, “2 Guys Named Ben,” is a video series based on footage collected from a cycle tour that he and longtime friend Ben Guzman took from Romney, West Virginia to Los Angeles, California.

The series features interviews with traditional musicians and folk artists throughout Appalachia and across Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, and is complimented by a Grammy-nominated album, Deep End Sessions, Vol 3: Ben Townsend and Friends.

Jim Townsend is a classically trained pianist and composer from Hampshire County, WV.  He studied composition with Dr. Jon Ward Bauman, Dr. John Beall, and Dr. Mark Andrew Cook. 

He studied piano with Dr. Christine Kefferstan, Dr. Yu-Hsuan Liao, and Betty Hadidian.  And he has also studied harpsichord with Dr. William Haller.

As a composer, he tries to paint the landscape he grew up in with sound.  Jim already has completed over 100 compositions complete, including five piano sonatas, three string quartets, two symphonies, and two piano concerti, and several cycles and small works for piano and chamber ensemble.

Most of his works are spiritually inspired and incorporate spiritual ideas. 

As a pianist, Jim has performed many works, including several of the piano sonatas of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, with a focus and specialization on the French contemporary composer Olivier Messiaen.

“Please come out and support the arts in our community, while enjoying a wonderful and unique evening out on the town.  I know that no one seeing this show will be disappointed,” said Ron Curry TCAC Co-Chairman.    

This night of music and film from this talented duo is not to be missed.  The show will be held at Gallery 62 West on Main Street, on Saturday, April 27, with a reception at 6:00 p.m. and the show starting at 7:00 p.m.  There will be a cover charge of $10. 


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