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Phil Bensen

By Gary Wien


The crowd always got a little quieter and paid more attention to the stage every time they heard Phil Bensen's voice project from the Stone Pony's stage. He was a regular at the club's open mic night and he never failed to disappoint. Mixing originals with classics from Marvin Gaye and the Tempations, Bensen created quite a stir with a booming, Motown-influenced voice. It was something the Jersey Shore hadn't heard in a while.

"People have come up to me and said, 'I can't believe you pulled it off,'" said Phil Bensen. "You're the first whie boy I've seen pull that off."

Bensen recently released his first CD entitled "Airbrushed Memories" and will be setting up shows throughout the area. He hopes to get shows in New Jersey, New York City, Philly and in his old college town of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. When people see him live they are bound to remember that voice. It's got the timeless quality that the best Motown songs have; hearing it just seems to take you back to memories long since forgotten. Bensen recognizes that his voice will be what takes him places, but wants to make sure he's viewed as a complete songwriter as well.

"I'm trying to get into the zone now where I'm making the songs that I write fit my voice better so I can showcase my voice better," explained Bensen. "Lyrically, when people hear you live they don't really listen to the lyrics very much. Its more of the melody and the voice that they hear. And then when they have the CD in their car they listen to the lyrics. When I write, I definitely don't compromise lyrics. I've always wanted to write the best songs as possible."

Bensen hasn't been playing that long. The 23 year-old singer-songwriter only really started playing live while attending college. Music, it seems, was simply in his genes. His grandfather was a child star in Norway who used to sing for the King. Bensen's father was a musician as well.

"Everyone on my father's side has powerful voices," said Bensen. "I really got into writing songs when I heard John Mayer play. I was like, 'Where is he getting these sounds from an acoustic guitar?' And I just tried to learn as many chords as possible. Vocally, I've always loved Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder and newer guys like Gavin DeGraw and Jason Mraz. I just want to always get that smooth but powerful and believability when I sing."

Bensen grew up in Hazlet, New Jersey wanting to be a soccer player. That was his passion throughout his childhood. Music took over when he saw the emergence of the singer-songwriter scene. "I saw them and thought that could be me singing and playing guitar on stage."

You can catch Phil Bensen live at the Bitter End on June 5th and at the Indigo Coffeehouse on June 11th. Vist www.philbensen.com for more info.



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Event calendar
Friday, Mar 22, 2019


MUSIC

East Coast In Lullaby @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

LIONEL RICHIE @ Hard Rock Live Etess Arena at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 8:00pm

Swingadelic Featuring Rob Paparozzi @ Roys Hall (Blairstown), Blairstown - 8:00pm

Carolyn Messina at Table 42 @ Table 42, Dover - 7:00pm

Tom Chapin with Dan Pelletier at the Minstrel @ Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, Morristown - 7:30pm

Finding Neverland @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm

Music of Cream @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 8:00pm

Summer of Love IX @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

WARRANT @ Starland Ballroom, Sayreville - 6:00pm

Selwyn Birchwood @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm







THEATRE

Mamma Mia @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 8:00pm

Native Gardens @ Eagle Theatre, Hammonton - 8:00pm

The Source by Jack Canfora @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm

Sassy Mamas presented by Dunbar Repertory Company @ Middletown Arts Center, Middletown - 8:00pm

CURIOUS GEORGE: THE GOLDEN MEATBALL @ The Growing Stage: The Childrens Theatre of New Jersey, Netcong - 7:30pm

Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies @ Victoria Theater @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 7:00pm

Ken Ludwigs The Gods of Comedy @ Matthews Theatre @ McCarter Theatre, Princeton - 8:00pm

Theo @ Marion Huber Theater @ Two River Theater, Red Bank - 8:00pm


COMEDY

Comedy Night at Black Box PAC @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm


FILM

Hairspray Sing-Along with host Jeremy Grunin! @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 8:00pm


KIDS

Celebrate Holi @ iPlay America, Freehold - 4:00pm

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