Ben Garnett

Welcome to!  The official website of guitarist, composer, and music educator Ben Garnett.

Circus No. 9


Hello friends, and happy 2019! I have some excellent news to share with you to start off the year. I am thrilled to be joining forces with progressive-bluegrass band Circus No. 9! I met both Thomas (mandolin) and Matt (banjo) at the life-changing Acoustic Music Seminar in Savannah, GA back in 2017, and I’m so happy to now consider them part of my musical family. Our show last Friday night, opening for Sam Bush at the historic Bijou Theatre in downtown Knoxville, was just amazing. I can’t wait to write and play more music with these fellas.  Please check my tour dates page to keep track of my shows with them, with Missy Raines, and others!  More soon…



Now offering (Skype) lessons!!!

Hello people of the music world!  Just wanted to announce that I am officially taking students of all levels, both in person and over Skype! 

Topics of discussion could include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Technique Fundamentals

  • Learning Music by Ear

  • Reading Music

  • Composing Your Own Music

  • Arranging Your Own Music, and/or Other People's Music

  • General Improvisation

  • Introduction To Jazz Studies

  • Advanced Jazz Studies - soloing & comping ideas, learning tunes, etc.

  • Exercises In Counterpoint

  • Chord Voicings

  • How To Strengthen Your Time Feel

  • How To Play Well With Others (learning to listen & react while playing)

  • Philosophies On Growing And Getting Better

  • Philosophies On Broad Musical/Life Topics (finding your "voice", getting gigs, playing with others, etc.)

Would love to hear from you if any of these topics sound interesting!  Drop me a line via the "contact" page to discuss rates and setting up a lesson time.  Thanks so much!  -B

First gigs in Nashville!



Well folks, since I made my move to Nashville back in September, things have been going super great!  I'm proud to say that my first couple gigs in town will be along side some really outstanding musicians.  On March 18th, I'll be at Rudy's Jazz Room with the Jimmy Sullivan quartet, featuring Billy Contreras on fiddle, Josh Hunt on drums, and yours truly on guitar.  We'll be exploring the somewhat uncharted intersection between modern jazz and acoustic roots music.  This will also debut a few of my newer compositions, so don't miss it!  More information can be found here.  Second, on March 23rd, I'll be opening for the legendary Sam Bush at the City Winery, along side the fabulous Missy Raines and fiddler George Jackson!  If you're in Nashville, I would love to see you!  More soon...

Folk Alliance

So excited to announce that I will be both playing AND teaching at the Folk Alliance International Conference this year!!  I'll be performing with the fabulous Missy Raines at the Benton's 20th Floor location on Thursday, February 15th, at 7:30pm.  In addition, I'll be teaching two classes as part of the Louis Jay Meyers Music Camp, held in conjunction with Folk Alliance.  One will be an intro to jazz guitar, aimed for students primarily with a folk background.  We'll be discussing some brief jazz guitar history, how it relates to the folk tradition, and furthermore dissect a few idiomatic jazz passages, revealing how "folky" they can actually sound at their core.  My hope is to unveil the perhaps covert similarity between jazz and folk music, and to anticipate the exciting future that lies ahead in their mingling!  My second class will focus on creative improvising within fiddle music, where I'll discuss ideas, techniques, and a few exercises to help spark a fresh and personal approach.  My hope is to illuminate the real self-expressive potential I believe one has when playing this music, and to encourage players to think outside the box of what's "expected" in a great bluegrass solo.

FAI2018 Conf Artwork.jpg

UNT's 125th Anniversary

I just wanted to post about this incredible experience I had a little more than a year and a half ago!  I was asked to play in a small jazz group placed right in the center of UNT's concert orchestra as part of a concert celebrating my alma mater's 125th anniversary.  What an absolutely thrilling and epic experience!!  I've never had a performance quite like it.  The piece was written by one of my favorite professors I had at North Texas, the great Richard ReDosa.  Underneath the video of the performance is a quick explanation of the piece and the intentions behind the composition.  Looking back on this experience makes me all the more thankful and proud to have attended a school like UNT for music!

Q&A/Masterclass at Berklee

Yesterday I had the privilege of assisting the great Missy Raines in two Q&A/masterclass sessions at the Berklee College of Music.  Sort of odd to be on the "other side" like that.  It was only spring 2016 when I graduated from North Texas, where I attended masterclasses like that just about every week as a student. The experience was totally eye-opening, and made me realize how misleading the term "masterclass" can actually be, ha!  The tables could've just as easily been turned, as I'm sure there was so much to learn by the people who attended the session.  The whole thing put into perspective how I think we as artists all exist on this common continuum of growth, and that it's simply our unique upbringings, values, and visions that allow us to inform one another.  Doesn't really have much to do with "mastery" at all!  Anyhow, towards the end of the second class, the great Mike Marshall came in and played a few tunes with us before he gave a class of his own. I also got to sign the chest drawers in Steve Bailey's office with other bass and bass-related clinicians who have come to visit Berklee previously.  What an honor it is to be on the road with Missy and to see the world as a traveling musician!!  More soon! ❤️❤️


Missy Raines and The New Hip

Friends!  I am just thrilled to say that I will be joining Missy Raines' band—Missy Raines and The New Hip!  Missy is a total joy to work with, and the music is a blast to play.  We have a trio comprised of Missy, myself, and brilliant fiddler, George Jackson (  We'll be hitting the road next week, so be sure to catch us at one of these shows!  It will be wonderful going out to the Northeast during its full autumnal swing!  Be sure to snag a copy of Missy's latest CD, New Frontier, and other MR merch here —>

More information about Missy Raines: &


The Acoustic Music Seminar

Hi everyone!  I wanted to share just a bit about my experience being a part of this amazing program!  I'm sort of speechless about the whole thing, but in short, it truly changed my life.  To me, AMS was a beautiful and unbelievable way to 1.) meet my heroes, 2.) help deepen my understanding of who I am musically, and 3.) most significantly, introduced me to this incredible community of people—all of whom, to me, are striving to be the most honest, thoughtful, and giving artists they can all be.  It is such an exciting time to be a part of this music!!  The surface has really only been scratched with regard to what I believe is truly possible—both musically, and socially as well.  Anyhow, applications for next year's seminar are open NOW until November 15th, so if you are currently aged 22 or under, and interested in playing acoustic music, go after it and apply!!  Click the link below for more information:


Turkey, TX (46th Annual Bob Wills Day)


So a few weeks ago, my dear friend and musical collaborator, Ginny Mac, invited me to attend the annual Bob Wills Day music festival in Turkey, TX – a gorgeous little town known for being the birth place of the legendary Bob Wills, who if you don't know, is considered the father and co-founder of Western Swing music.  Western Swing, to me, is this amazing and inspiring melting pot of swing music (1920s-40s popular music), traditional country, cowboy-folk music, blues, and lots of other styles.  It reminds me a lot of Django Reinhardt's music in regard to its origin (with combining regional folk music with the popular music of his time).  While I was there, I performed at The Church of Western Swing (with Ginny and her brother Glenn McLaughlin), picked some tunes at various jam sessions (many I didn't know–a good thing!), made some new friends, explored the town, and had many laughs in-between!  I absolutely loved getting to know the Western Swing community and family.  What a beautiful music built by beautiful people – I hope to return in years to come!

The Acoustic Music Seminar

Hello everyone!  I am so thrilled to announce that I have been selected to attend the Acoustic Music Seminar this coming April!  The seminar is a six-day-long program in Savannah, GA where I'll get to study, play, compose, and hang with the likes of Mike Marshall, Julian Lage, Bryan Sutton, Aoife O'Donovan, Chris Eldridge, Edgar Meyer, Noam Pikelny, and others.  Those of you who know me know that some of these folks are some of my greatest musical heroes...I couldn't be more stoked to be a part of this.  Looking forward to a great week of inspiration and growth!

Senior Recital (Samba em Prelúdio)

Hello everyone!  So just 5 months ago, I had the great pleasure of doing my senior recital at UNT (alongside drummer extraordinaire, Matt Young) as part of finishing my degree and showcasing what I've learned in my time being there.  What an incredible evening.  I was lucky enough to perform with some really fantastic players as part of it!  Here's a video of a tune from that night.  Enjoy my take on Baden Powell's classic Bossa Nova piece!  (Unfortunately we were not able to capture the "prelude" section at the beginning on video due to technical difficulties, so enjoy the "samba" portion of this amazing tune!)



Welcome to my website everyone!  Please make yourself at home.  I've been wiping the dust off of some old furniture, and making room for some new installments!  Stay tuned.  -B

Listen below to selected tracks from various gigs!!