Making a living as a musician was considerably easier before the digital music revolution started killing record sales. These days, it's particularly tough for idiosyncratic artists like Marco Benevento, a Berklee-trained keyboard
Fortunately for Benevento, his talent happens to be matched by what is surely one of the strongest work ethics in the biz.
"I've been touring the country with my own band and various projects over the last 15 years, and it all started in New York City with a gig that paid 50 bucks a man," he says. "I figured if I can make 50 bucks in NYC, then I should go to Philly or D.C. or Boston and try to make the same amount.
"It's been a slow, organic process, but I wouldn't want it any other way, really," he adds. "Sure, there were some years that weren't as profitable as others, but it all evens out in the end. My band now has some big roots, and we have a lot of diehard fans who wouldn't miss a show if we were close by."
Of course, when he's not sweating it out over the keys and mike on the American tour circuit, Benevento is holed up in his studio, expanding on a kaleidoscopic discography that has seen him veer from experimental jazz to dance-rock and beyond.
His most recent effort, The Story of Fred Short, picks up where the previous album, Swift — itself a stylistic departure point — left off in terms of lyrical songwriting.
"After releasing Swift in 2014, I was definitely hooked on singing and writing lyrics, so I knew I was going to be doing more of that," he explains. "I took my time with the
"I also knew that I was going to be recording it in my own studio in upstate New York," he says. "My studio, named Fred Short, is something I've been working on for about five years — significant to my evolution as a musician, because I've learned a tremendous amount doing my own recording. Fred Short is a vibey place where song ideas happen rather easily because of the way it is set up and the feeling you get when you walk in the room."
But Fred Short is more than just the name of Benevento's studio. The moniker inspired the whole narrative concept underlining the album.
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"Fred Short is [also] the name of the street I live on in upstate New York," he says. "As the album began to take shape, I decided to make side B of the record about Fred Short, a fictional character who used to own the land that I now live on, in the Catskills. I decided to make up a story about how Fred wound up in the Catskills."
So what is the story of Fred Short? Find out January 16 when Benevento presents the album live at Miami's North Beach Bandshell. The concert will be the first in the Miami-based Rhythm Foundation's Seaside Sessions, a three-part concert series bringing fresh international music to Miami Beach.
"Our show is electric, alive, and uplifting," he promises. "We get people dancing, and we also have some great communication onstage musically. I love performing, I really do — I'll never stop. The guys I am touring with are such incredible musicians: Dave Dreiwitz, on bass, plays with Ween, and Andy Borger, on drums, toured and played with Tom Waits as well as Norah Jones, so these guys ain't messing around."
Marco Benevento with