While the name ‘Breaking Hart Benton’ bears reference to the tragic demise of one of the great 20th-century American painters, to de?ne the band’s sound one has to reach further back, to the collision of musical cultures of the British, Irish and African Americans in the Appalachian Mountains.
Breaking Hart Benton play an original style of music they describe as ‘new time / old time’ – lyrically and melodically rich, modern-day songs with traditional undertones and strong Celtic and Appalachian in?uences.
Lyrically, Breaking Hart Benton seamlessly blends surrealist poetry with narrative-style stories where Australian themes and observations can sit comfortably beside an old-time murder ballad or protest song.
Instrumentally, the sound is shaped by the ‘clawhammer’ Appalachian mountain banjo style originating from West Africa and a Delta blues- and Celtic-infused guitar style. These eclectic but historically coherent in?uences have created, in the words of Phil Young (3MDR, Melbourne), a ‘refreshingly old approach to new music’.
The originality and authenticity of the band is starting to gain recognition – a successful east coast tour including supporting the renowned Irish folk singer Noriana Kennedy, a nomination as a Top 10 ?nalist in the MusicOz Awards at the Opera House, and a spate of upcoming tour dates and festival appearances.
You can catch them at the Sphinx Rock Cafe, Sunday.