| Ben grew up in Rowayton,
Connecticut, a small suburb of New York City. After playing cello for a
few years in the school orchestra, he picked up the guitar at age 12 under
the tutelage of his father, professional fingerstyle guitarist Edward Wright.
It didn't take him long to find
some like-minded teenage musicians to team up with and thus, Green Dog was
born. Despite a healthy amount of rock 'n roll ambition and rave reviews
from teen hangouts all around southern Connecticut, Green Dog was not destined
to survive the tumultuous times of late puberty.
Inspired by the folky explorations
of the Grateful Dead and various affiliates such as Old and in the Way and
the David Grisman Quintet, Ben laid his Stratocaster to rest and picked
up an old dreadnaught acoustic. He began attending bluegrass shows and festivals
all over the Northeast and was wowed by the likes of Bela Fleck, Doc Watson,
Del McCoury and Tony Rice.
In the fall of 1997 Ben began his
freshman year at Colorado College. Within the first week of school he was
exposed to the Colorado bluegrass style, a fusion of rock 'n roll and traditional
bluegrass purveyed by bands such as Leftover Salmon. And before you could
say "The String Cheese Incident" Ben had his own little bluegrass
fusion project in the works. Although Building was mainly a college band,
playing at parties and various campus events, they did ocasionally head
north to play some shows in Denver and Boulder giving young Ben and the
others a taste of what it was like to be in a real working band.
But, as the college years wore
on, musical tastes diverged and Building parted ways. Ben was inspired more
and more by his studies as a music major; particularly in his work with
the Balinese Gamelan and Stephen Scott's experimental music group, the Bowed
Piano Ensemble. Although the latter half of Ben's college career was devoted
more towards exploring new sounds and styles including a renewed interest
in the electric guitar and some electronic techniques such as live looping
and sampling, he still kept a weekly gig playing bluegrass at a local brewery.
After graduating with a BA in music
in 2001, Ben headed straight south to Santa Fe, New Mexico with the hopes
of establishing a career in music. It took a little while to make it happen
but after 8 months of waiting tables he landed his first gig playing with
local legend Joe West. Since then he has managed to leave the service industry
behind and devote himself entirely to creative pursuits. In addition to
his role in Mary and Mars, he still plays with Joe West, is part of an exiting
live electronic project called D Numbers and occupies what little free time
he has with amateur photography and graphic design.|