Hollywood is replete with actors who are also musicians. Oscar-winning actor Jared Leto sings and plays guitar, bass, and keyboards in the band 30 Seconds to Mars. Mark Wahlberg provided vocals for the group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Russell Crowe sings and plays guitar in the band Russell Crowe & The Ordinary Fear of God to name a few. And Jeff Daniels, whose acting career includes roles in the movies “Ragtime,” “Sweet Hearts Dance,” Arachnophobia, and “The Martian” in his 27 years of celluloid, is also an accomplished musician. He is also one of few actor/musicians with a child also in the business. At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1, Stowe’s Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center will present “Jeff Daniels and the Ben Daniels Band Acoustically Speakin’ Summer ’18,” which highlights the Daniels’ and son Ben’s musicality in an act that features the songwriting of the elder Daniels. As Jeff Daniels, 63, tells it in his website biography, in 1976 he bought a Guild D-40 guitar from Herb David’s Guitar Studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and moved to New York City. While working his way up the ladder of stage and screen success, that guitar became a solace, and a road into the artist that he didn’t know existed. Over 40 years later, he just released his eighth album, “Simple Truths.” He is touring with his son’s band in support of that recording. Daniels has found time in between acting in 60 movies and parts on TV to perform as a singer-songwriter in venues as varied as The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia, Club Passim in Boston, New York City’s 54 Below, Chicago, and Nashville’s City Winery, as well as numerous opera houses throughout the country. He has toured both coasts with the Ben Daniels Band, and has shared the stage with Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Joe Ely, Guy Clark, Keb Mo’, and Bruce Hornsby. He performed at David Bromberg’s 70th birthday bash at NYC’s Town Hall and he has studied under blues guitarist Stefan Grossman. In a published interview Daniels acknowledged that he learned much about songwriting from the playwrights he met. “When I moved to New York City to chase acting as a career, what I didn’t plan on was being influenced by all the playwrights I would work with Off-Broadway,” Daniel’s said. “In particular, Lanford Wilson — who would go on to win a Pulitzer Prize for his play ‘Talley’s Folly’ — taught me so much about the writing process; the love/hate relationship one has with such a solitary pursuit, the endless rewriting, the search and struggle to find a way to say it better. In Hollywood, the joke is ask any actor what he really wants to do and he’ll say, “Direct.” All I wanted to do was write. So I did.” Ben Daniels, Jeff’s oldest child, at 34 decided he was going to be a musician. He is a guitarist and writes lyrics. To hone his craft he studied the music and writings of Bob Dylan, Robert Johnson, and J.J. Cale, among others. His lyrics speak directly to a younger generation that hears, sees and thinks about the very things he’s writing. The Ben Daniels Band, which he fronts, is known for its originality, musicianship, and a sound that spans Americana, blues, jazz and rock. The band had toured the country several times and regularly performs in its home base of Michigan. Band members include Tommy Reifel on bass, Wesley Fritzemeier on fiddle and mandolin, and singer-songwriter Amanda Daniels on vocals. Critics describe The Ben Daniels Band as “a formidable group that sounds pleasantly familiar, yet unforgettably unique. This is a band with its own views of the blues.” Jeff Daniels is a fine fingerstyle guitarist with a somewhat gravelly voice. His songwriting reveals lyrics with a comic bent. Daniels says, “I just write songs. I don’t care if they turn up on a Billboard chart.” An avowed liberal, Daniels also writes politically motivated songs. "Hard to Hear the Angels Sing," a song that was featured on a Billboard.com interview was written after the Trump election. According to the article, “With little more than his own voice, the subdued strumming of his acoustic guitar and lyrics from ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and ‘America the Beautiful,’ interspersed with his own thoughts, Daniels' less-is-more approach posits simple questions and conundrums.” Of his singer-songwriter influences Daniels says, “I love the ‘writers with guitars,’ I call 'em. Certainly initially on it was Arlo Guthrie, Stevie Goodman, John Prine, Loudon Wainwright — they all could do serious and also funny. Cheryl Wheeler, Jason Isbell, Keb' Mo', Kacey Musgraves ... I really like the story of Ashley McBride, how she’s breaking and the way she just writes good songs. I just love that. John Hiatt. Lyle Lovett. Will Kimbro. Love that guy’s playing. Kelly Joe Phelps — I’ll never play like Kelly Joe, but I can try. I write for writers. I’m hopeful that someone might hear something I do and go, ‘Oh, that’s a good line. I like that line.’ That’ll be enough.” Together, Jeff Daniels and the Ben Daniels Band, combine baby boomer sagacity and wit with millennial energy forming an act that features interesting acoustically driven songs with a band that understands how to back up a singer with something to say. Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center “Jeff Daniels and the Ben Daniels Band Acoustically Speakin’ Summer ’18” comes to the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, 122 Hourglass Drive (off Route 108), at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1. Tickets are $30-40; call 802-760-4634, or go online to www.sprucepeakarts.org.

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