As country music evolves, many new artists often find themselves pigeon-holed as new country, alternative country, or country rock. Ben Coulter does not have that problem. Ben Coulter IS country.
Whether it’s a tender ballad sung directly from the heart to the woman of his affections, or a sleeves-rolled-up, prideful ode to his Southern roots, the warmth and richness in Ben Coulter’s soulful serenades have earned him the moniker “The Voice of the South” and comparisons to a young George Strait.
Since 2004 Coulter has been living the life of an old-school troubadour, often performing over 150 shows a year. He has also released ten albums.
Originally hailing from the tiny whistle stop of Montrose, Arkansas, Coulter has taken his “Country Music…Delta Style” show from Chicago, IL to the legendary stage of the Louisiana Hayride, and points all across the South and Midwest.
The road to success is not always measured by how quickly you can get from point A to point B. For Ben Coulter the journey has been the reward, helping create his signature sound that blends delta blues with traditional country.
Coulter’s initial foray into the musician’s lifestyle got fast-tracked as he spent three years performing six shows a week in Branson, Missouri. Following his Branson experience Coulter trekked to Nashville, where he paid his dues in the popular singer/songwriter circuit before returning to Arkansas to continue honing his craft in the familiar surroundings of his upbringing.
Coulter’s inspiration for his songs is often born out of introspect and self-reflection. In his song “You don’t have to remind me” Coulter sees the face of his Dad, a boy’s hero who passed too early, every time he looks in the mirror. “To me, it’s a song saying that I’ll never forget,” said Coulter. As long as I’m alive I’ll always remember him. I guess with the song I wanted to tell my Dad that too.”
In his song “Highway 61 Blues” Coulter depicts a journey down the dark, desolate Mississippi highway that is renowned for leading to blues luminary Robert Johnson’s legendary “Crossroads.”
Coulter’s influences are well-traveled legends in their own right. His country heroes include Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings, while Son House, Muddy Waters, and Anders Osborne round out his most-admired roster.
Even though performing music was not always a career ambition for Coulter, music has always been a passion. Coulter grew up listening to traditional country and loved to dial in his favorite radio station 104.1 out of Monroe, Louisiana, especially to tune in to “Country Gold Saturday Night.”
Growing up, like a lot of American kids, Coulter was into playing baseball. He was also a HUGE Elvis Presley fan. As he got older he found himself tapping into the current rock scene, with bands like Kiss, Poison, and Guns and Roses among his personal favorites. He never picked up a guitar until he was 19 years old, but once he did his life changed dramatically. Coulter found his calling performing and writing songs and began delving back into blues and country, the two music genres that best defined his Southern roots.
Coulter’s songwriting continues to blossom as he writes from the heart, inspired by his faith, his friends and family, and his chosen career path as a road-seasoned musician.
His autobiographical song “Songwriter” is a crowd favorite and encapsulates his existence. “I wrote it when I was living and playing in Branson,” said Coulter. I think that song came out of leaving gigs night after night and wondering why I’m doing this.”
As Coulter continues on, the driving force that powers his journey becomes more evident to both himself and his fans. Not only is he able to connect with his audience at each performance, but also his music continues to gain recognition and touch those it encounters. His song “Feel like goin’ home” has been featured in the independent film “Wild Sunflowers.”
Whether the path he has chosen leads to his dream of playing the Opry, another full-band show at a county fair, or a solo performance at a local watering hole, three things remain constant:
Ben Coulter can sing…and Ben Coulter IS country…and blues.
(this bio was written by Brandler Johnson of The Examiner)