“Chuck, Chuck! It's Marvin! Your cousin, Marvin Berry! You know that new sound you were looking for? Well listen to THIS!”
It was 1985 and Harry Waters Jr. played the cousin of rock and roll legend, Chuck Berry in the time traveling phenomenon, Back To The Future (Universal Pictures.) The scene cleverly gave nod to Berry’s 1958 smash hit, Johnny B. Goode. Marty McFly, Michael J. Fox’s well known character, slid dramatically across the stage at his future parents’s high school dance, The Under the Sea Enchantment Ball, wailing on a Gibson ES-345.
31 years later, 10 year old Ben Flournoy would discover Back To The Future and subsequently his talent and passion while watching the movie that his father, Drake, says changed everything for Ben. “He saw that movie and said ‘Dad, I want a guitar,’ and that’s when we bought him the first of many.” Now, 6 years later, Ben owns 13 guitars and is playing local venues regularly. He is often described as “that kid that plays like Hendrix.”
Last Friday evening, I was invited to a show Flournoy played in Bainbridge, Georgia, at Southern Philosophy Brewing Co. I sat in a lawn chair in a graveled alleyway downtown. With just enough space to fit a small stage, a few small tables and a couple lawn chairs, the surrounding renovated brick buildings created the perfect acoustics for live music. Next to me were Ben’s mother, Terri, and father, the owners of a Quincy-based electrician company. Their technical experience was evident in the impeccable lighting and sound set up for their son’s show. As I listened to the choice of classic blues and rock covers, I asked the Flournoys, “Is this the type of music Ben grew up with?” Both shook their heads, wide eyed as if it were the first time they’d heard him play and still in disbelief of the talent pouring from the speakers. Throughout the remaining sets, I listened to every riff intently while also watching Terri and Drake. They occasionally looked back at me almost as if they were looking for confirmation of what they felt was above average talent from their teenage son.
Ben played a variety of Vaughn, Mayer, Hendrix, Cash, The Mamas & The Papas and yes, even ended with his favorite, Johnny B. Goode. Next to him on stage, were 5 Fender Stratocasters from his extensive collection. The passion he felt while playing was obvious by the effort he put into playing every note. It was visible in his motions. The guitar is more than an instrument when Ben is creating music on stage. It’s a tool. Sometimes he would play 15 to 20 minute stretches without a break in the music. Ben has been known to play a guitar with his teeth, behind his back and even lay the instrument on the ground to gain leverage and strum with both hands during shows. This 16 year old certainly entertains a crowd.
While Ben Flournoy has played several venues and events in and around the Tallahassee area, he is shifting his focus to be able to continue performing while balancing a normal teenage life. Between family, school and recording, it’s important to Ben and his parents to keep a sense of normalcy. “Ben loves to be on stage and play for anyone that will listen,” Terri says. She explains that booking will continue, but more selectively. “I don’t want to stop playing. But I want to play all over. See new things. Meet new people,” Ben explains.
To view videos from Ben’s Southern Philosophy Brewing Co. show on April 29, 2022, visit: https://bit.ly/3w4CpmZ
To book Ben or inquire about a collaboration or event, email: email@example.com