Ben Garnett is a Nashville-based guitarist, composer, improviser, and educator. Originally from Arlington, TX, he graduated from the University of North Texas in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in jazz studies. A product of his 21st-century upbringing, Ben embraces a genre-bending, “in the cracks,” musical aesthetic, fluently drawing on the traditions of folk, jazz, bluegrass, classical, and rock music in his compositions and improvisations.
As he puts it, “…I think the main thing that drew me to the guitar was that it had a real place in all the music I love, which couldn’t be said for any other instrument. These days, I find myself migrating from one music-world to the next, allowing me to experience many different perspectives and values, both in music and in our humanity. I feel lucky to be on this path, learning a great deal along the way, and loving every minute of it.”
Ben currently plays and tours with bluegrass bassist & singer/songwriter Missy Raines, progressive-bluegrass band Circus No. 9, acoustic modern-jazz powerhouse The Third River Quartet (Billy Contreras, Jimmy Sullivan, & Joshua Hunt), Battlefront Station—a jazz trio with Todd Parks (Sam Bush) and drummer Jordan Perlson (Becca Stevens) , accordionist & singer/songwriter Ginny Mac, guitarist & avant-composer Skyler Hill, and many others.
During his time in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, Ben performed professionally with a number of (at times, vastly) different musical acts. From playing western swing, gypsy jazz, bluegrass, and '60s/'70s pop with singer and accordionist Ginny Mac, to Pink Floyd music with Texas Floyd, to two-stepping country at Billy Bob’s Texas, to soul and R&B with The Southpaw Preachers, to top 40 with numerous pop-cover bands, to modern jazz, improvised music, and original compositions with his own groups and collaborations, Ben quickly established a reputation for his skilled versatility across the DFW music scene.
In September 2017, to dive into a new world of musical excellence and diversity, and to pursue his love for progressive acoustic music, Ben made his move to Nashville, TN. Within about a week, he became a touring member of Missy Raines’ group, Missy Raines and the New Hip—an all-acoustic trio (with fiddler George Jackson) that explores the new frontier of cross-genre acoustic music through the windows of song-writing and improvisation.