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Biography

Ball and Chain & The Wreckers are an Ottawa based band with Michael Ball and Jody Benjamin as the shackles holding this group together.

Formed in 1997, they now have five full length CDs in their catalogue.  Their latest release, Louisiana Love Bug, was recorded, produced and mastered by Dirk Powell in Louisiana.  Dirk is well known for his work with people like Joan Baez, Jack White, Loretta Lynn and T. Bone Burnett.  Dirk assembled some great Louisiana musicians for the Ball and Chain recording.

Michael and Jody have been making frequent trips to Louisiana since 1997 and the music from Southwest Louisiana and its cultural context continues to fascinate them.

Michael and Jody were instrumental in bringing the first outdoor dance floor to a festival in Ottawa(OFF Dance Tent) and they have the band to make the dancing happen.  They play a mixture of Roots Country and Cajun music, always with the dancers in mind.  

Their Ottawa band members are:

Michael Ball - fiddle, mandolin and vocals

Jody Benjamin - acoustic guitar and vocals

Don Evans - bass

Alistaire Dennett - drums

Al Bragg - pedal steel 

They play a mixture of original and cover tunes leaning towards the earlier country that still sounded like country.  Some of their favorites are Hank Williams, George Jones, Roger Miller and Webb Pierce. 

Ball and Chain often appear as a duo, one that understands the beauty of a simple style, where melody and groove can carry the music all the way to your soul. When Michael gets going on the Cajun tunes with Jody on the triangle, you can almost taste the jambalaya.

Jody Benjamin was the lead singer in the Toasted Westerns, Ottawa’s favorite singing sandwich, from 1988 to 2008.  She is a talented rhythm player and her triangle, rub board and rhythm guitar (as well as harmony vocals) can be heard on many recordings by various artists including: Juno nominee and Maple Blues award winner, Michael Jerome Browne (www.michaeljeromebrowne.com), Keith Glass (www.prairieoyster.com),Finest Kind (http://ianrobb.com/finestkind), Grouyan Gombo (www.myspace.com/grouyangombo).  She currently directs the two Ottawa chapters of Georgette Fry's community women's choir, Shout Sister! (shoutsister.georgettefry.ca).

A student of the violin since childhood, Michael Ball was first exposed to Cajun and Zydeco music when he joined Danielle Martineau’s band,Rockabayou in 1992. The band toured Europe, Canada and the U.S. and recorded three albums between ’92 and ’97.  Michael also plays with other musicians including party favorites, Zydeco Loco and (Prairie Oyster) Keith Glass’ band, Twister.  He can be seen playing bass every Sunday night at Irene's with the popular bluegrass group, The Dusty Drifters.

Photos

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BALL AND CHAIN
Color promo photograph
8 1/2 X 11
PDF | high res
BALL AND CHAIN
Colour promo photograph
8 1/2 X 11 
PDF | high res
BALL AND CHAIN
B&W promo photograph
8 1/2 X 11 
PDF | high res


Promotional Materials

Printable flyers for Ball and Chain. You can choose PDF posters which are immediately printable, or high resolution posters if required. 

If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader and cannot view the PDF files, download HERE 
photo
photo
BALL AND CHAIN
Colour poster
8 1/2 X 14 
PDF | high res
BALL AND CHAIN
4 UP colour flyers
8 1/2 X 11
PDF | high res
BALL AND CHAIN
Colour poster
8 1/2 X 11 
high res
 
photo
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BALL AND CHAIN and the WRECKERS
Colour poster
8 1/2 X 14 
PDF | high res
BALL AND CHAIN and the
WRECKERS
4 UP colour flyers
8 1/2 X 11
PDF | high res
BALL AND CHAIN and the WRECKERS
Colour poster
8 1/2 X 11
high res

Technical Requirements / Stage Plot

Below are the technical requirements for Ball and Chain and Ball and Chain with the Wreckers. Please contact Jody and Michael for inquiries regarding requirements or if only minimal requirements are available. 

BALL AND CHAIN (duo only) 

Jody: Vocal mic SM58 or equivalent, 1 direct line 
Michael: Vocal mic SM58 or equivalent, 1 direct line

BALL AND CHAIN AND THE WRECKERS 

Concert Setting 
Jody: Vocal mic SM58 or equivalent, 1 direct line 
Michael: Vocal mic SM58 or equivalent, 1 SM57 or equivalent (for amplifier) 
Triangle: 1 SM58 mic or equivalent, 1 SM57 mic or equivalent 
Pedal Steel: 1 SM58 mic or equivalent, SM57 or equivalent (for amplifier), chair 
Bass: 1 bass amplifier (300W), chair or stool 
Drums: kick - D112 or equivalent, snare - 1 SM57 mic or equivalent, 2 toms - 2 senn 421 mics, hi-hat - 1 SN81 mics or equivalent, overhead - 2 SN81 mics or equivalent 

Minimum Requirements 

Jody: Vocal mic SM58 or equivalent, 1 direct line 
Michael: Vocal mic SM58 or equivalent, 1 SM57 or equivalent (for amplifier) 
Triangle: 1 SM58 mic or equivalent, 1 SM57 mic or equivalent 
Pedal Steel: 1 SM58 mic or equivalent, SM57 or equivalent (for amplifier), chair 
Bass: 1 bass amplifier (100W minimum), chair or stool 
Drums: kick - D112 or equivalent, snare - 1 SM57 mic or equivalent, overhead - 2 SN81 mics or equivalent