I had the pleasure of sharing a conversation with musician, Ben Payton. During our talk Payton discussed his life as a musician, his rumination on musicianship, and his thoughts on music theory. Starting his early teens, Payton traveled the Mid-West, Southeast, and East Coast playing music. He reflected on his beginnings as a neighborhood group performer in Chicago and spoke about the ways in which his family influenced his musicianship. Unhappy as a working musician, Payton stopped performing in the 1970s. He began performing again in the early 2000s and found popularity as a country blues musician. Payton talked candidly about later years in which government support allowed him to rediscover his musical path. At the time of our conversation in the spring of 2014, Payton was no longer beholden to performing an exhausting amount of gigs a year and he was able to refocus his attention to his own musicianship.
I spoke with Ben Payton during my work with the Southern Oral History Program at UNC- Chapel Hill. To hear our conversation or read the tape log, click here.