Voices Discovered: Benji Morris
Turpentine Shine was brought into existence by a hunger to play acoustic, roots music the way it was done on porches way back when. The band, led by singer-songwriter Benji Morris(Acoustic Guitar/Vocals) also features Dan Powers(Stand Up Bass), Pete Washburn(Banjo/Vocals) and Nathan Shepherd(Guitar/Vocals). Over the last couple of years, Turpentine Shine has developed an outstanding collection of original songs to coexist alongside the often times obscure cover tunes that the band has become known for in their set. Their instrumental lineup often times misleads folks to immediately assume that it’s a bluegrass band but Turpentine Shine is much more than that.
From the Grateful Dead to Solomon Burke to Amy Winehouse to local artists like Jonathan Byrd or Chatham County Line to the more current singer-songwriters of Texas like Ryan Bingham and Hayes Carll to Prince. You just never know what you’ll hear in a Turpentine Shine set. With the recent release of their first EP entitled “Bloom”, the band is already at work on their first full length LP with recording set to begin sometime in Summer 2018. You can listen to the new EP “Bloom” from Turpentine Shine or check out show dates on their website www.turpentineshine.com
Barbour Spangle Design had the chance to interview the local singer-songwriter, Benji Morris, and we are excited to share with you his story!
Q. How did you wind up in the music business?
A. I have played in bands going all the way back to my high school days and through college. I’ve always enjoyed it enough to where I wanted to pursue it as a business. Even though it’s not my full time job so to speak, it’s still a passion of each one of the band members to do what we are doing. And free beer doesn’t hurt either!
Q. What type of career would you have in an alternate universe?
A. I would definitely be involved in broadcast journalism in some way, shape or form. Sports has always been a large part of my life so I would say I probably would have been a play by play guy or a radio show host of some sort.
Q. What do you wish you knew when first starting that you know now?
A. That it’s more fulfilling to play for 5 people who really care about what you’re doing than it is to play for 500 people that couldn’t care less about what you’re doing. The strength isn’t always in numbers. The strength is in the connection you have with the others around you.
Q. What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A. Depends on who you ask I guess. Those that know me from Turpentine Shine would be surprised to know that I also sell furniture for a living. Those that know me for my furniture career are always surprised to know that I play music in a band.
Q. What motivates you?
A. I wake up everyday fully aware of the sacrifices that have been made on my behalf by my parents and grandparents that have led me to be where I am today. That awareness keeps me going.
Q. Best career advice you have ever received?
A. “Work hard, play hard” from my Dad who passed that motto down from his father.
Q. Favorite book?
A. I don’t read a lot of books but if I had to pick a favorite it would be Beach Music by Pat Conroy.
Q. Best vacation you have taken?
A. My wife and I spent a week in Colorado last summer. Music is obviously a large part of our lives so 2 nights at Red Rocks was the highlight of the trip but we also went up Pike’s Peak, saw Garden of the Gods, spent lots of time outside, tried lots of local beers, stuffed our faces at some excellent local restaraunts and stayed in some really cool AirBnB spots throughout the trip.
Q. Where will find you on a Sunday afternoon?
A. Hmm..Sunday afternoons usually involve a beer or two so I would say either Brewer’s Kettle, Brown Truck Brewery or my own backyard.
Q. Your go-to cocktail (or mocktail)?
A. I’m not really a liquor drinker..more of a beer guy(Pernicious IPA) although I do enjoy a good Bloody Mary…it better be spicy though. Bring the Zing Zang!
Q. What makes you truly happy?
A. A day that consists of the following things: time spent with loved ones, time spent outside, good music, a delicious meal. Did I mention beer?
Q. As you know, HPU is right here with incredible students looking to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. What three pieces of advice would you give them?
- Be passionate.
- Under-promise, over-deliver.
- Provide a service to people.
High Point Favorites
Q. Where do you like to grab a cup of coffee?
A. If I’m grabbing a cup of coffee out and about here in High Point it would be at either Debeen or the new 83 Custom Coffee coffee truck.
Q. Restaurant you can’t get enough of?
A. This is an easy one- hands down it would be Fixin's Restaurant. Their food is top notch with fresh ingredients, awesome craft beer selection. I’ve told Jason and August that they need to start bottling their Garlic Aioli that comes with the truffle fries just for me.
Q. Local shops doing everything right?
A. I’ve been a longtime supporter of David Armstrong at The Brewer’s Kettle. Much like Debeen, there is a community of regulars who meet there daily. I think it’s a testament to David and his staff. They provide a very welcoming atmosphere for all the beer and wine lovers. OrganicAF is another new shop that seems to be doing things right. Haven’t had a bad product from that place..the SmoothAF and GreenAF are my go-tos. I’m also a big fan of places like Company’s Coming (love the Chicken Salad!) and Real Market (excellent Black Bean dip!)
Q. Favorite place to grab a drink?
A. I have 3 go to places for my go to drink which if you haven’t figured it out by now is beer: Brewer’s Kettle, Blue Rock and Brown Truck Brewery.
Q. Excluding yours, what High Point company or business do you admire the most?
A. Biscuit Factory..no matter what time you go to that place it seems they are always packed!
Q. Where would you tell a first-time visitor to High Point to go and why?
A. I would say if you’re visiting High Point then you should definitely experience one of the Blue restaraunts..any of them will suffice but my favorite would be Lulu&Blu for the food and atmosphere (Chopped Kale salad and about any pasta on the menu are great) and Blue Rock for their beer selection. Then you can roll back down Main Street after dinner and hit up the patio at Brown Truck Brewery for a delicious, award winning locally made craft beer. Both places will give the visitor something that they can only get in High Point.
Voices Discovered is a series where High Point Discovered asks questions to High Point business leaders and entrepreneurs to share their view. Consider it a peek into the heart and soul of our local businesses. We hope you will be inspired to investigate more. Past guests have included Kelle Yokeley and Joe Hubay.
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Feature Image | Photography by ZoZo Photography