In 1999 this world lost a treasure with the passing of Terry Ray Smith. The uncle of Rev. Benjamin Blankenship, Terry was a singer/songwriter, whose abilities as a musician had him to play: guitar, bass guitar, harmonica, & flute. Throughout the the course of his life he’d spent his years playing in one rock band to another. Musically they had several successes, such as the night they opened & played with Chuck Berry. In 1966 his’ band “The Mods” won the Battle of The Bands in Toledo, Ohio causing them to record a 2 song 45 with Peck Records. Both songs were originals written & composed by Terry & his’ brother Larry Smith. Sadly, with his’ great talents much of Terry’s life was squandered. He lived a life consumed by alcohol, drugs, and regret.
At Terry’s passing Benjamin prayed that The Lord would give him that talent which he had for songwriting, so that God might be glorified. Instantaneously the power of almighty God came down filling the room with holy power. Immediately Benjamin had the ability to write songs. At that very moment God had given him an intense vision of works & a great desire to implement all that He’d blessed him with. Over the years Ben honed his’ talents, sending out demos to a handful of Southern Gospel Artists. Sadly, none took. Yet with each set back Benjamin was forced to go one step further, and push greater, and fight harder. What turned into sending out demos quickly turned into recording 2 full album (You Need The Holy Ghost Volume 1&2), which turned into a part-time hometown Southern Gospel group with soundtracks, which turned into a Southern Gospel band that played live music. More albums were being released. Apparel baring the name BEN*JAM began to sell. BEN*JAM increasingly began to build a stronger internet web presence.
Playing at Churches, Parks, Fairs, Restaurants, Conventions, Singing Halls, Gospel Singing Barns, Festivals, Private Parties, Television Shows, & Radio Stations scattered across the South Eastern United States, BEN*JAM has always strived to do more. Amongst some of the Gospel venues they‘ve played are: The Kentucky Southern Gospel Singing Convention, Pat’s Heavenly Jubilee, Judy’s Barn, Singing in the Pines, National Quartet Convention. Having won award in both Country & Gospel genres their fan base is ever growing and they’ve been ushered onto a wider stage. BEN*JAM has opened for bluegrass, rock, country, and gospel artists alike. Amongst some of the traditionally secular venues which have host BEN*JAM are: Big Mama’s Karaoke Café, The Country Tonite Theater, Ciderville Farm & Home Show, & Knoxville Harley Davidson.
- – - BEN*JAM MUSICAL INFLUENCES – - -
* Southern Gospel Influences: The Happy Goomans, The Hinsons, & The Paynes. * Rockabilly Influences: Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, & Elvis Pressley * Country Music Influences: George Strait, Johnny Cash, & Willie Nelson
- – - AWARDS – - -
- – - B E N * J A M – - - (2011 TCGMA AWARDS): BEST CD (2011 TCGMA AWARDS): BEST VIDEO (2011 TCGMA AWARDS): MOST PROMISING BAND (2012 NACMAI AWARDS) MOST PROMISING BAND (2012 NACMAI AWARDS) HORIZON ALBUM (2012 JoyFest Talent) 1ST RUNNER UP (BAND)