Sure, there are plenty of musicians splitting time between multiple projects in Santa Fe, but one man stands out in his ability to create brilliant original music, maintain session work excellence and add that certain je ne sais quoi to his backup appearances. You know him from D Numbers, the Santa Fe Revue and the Santa Fe All-Stars and as the new musical director for arts collective Meow Wolf. You know him as a killer multi-instrumentalist, a father, a friend and a tremendously kind human being. He is Ben Wright. He is DJ Bacon. He is everywhere. These are just some of the projects he's an integral part of:
1. Santa Fe Revue (guitarist)
"Joe West has been on hiatus for a year-plus, but when he decided to do something different, there were still a handful of gigs on the books. Being professionals, we wanted to keep the work, and that was the beginning of this new phase sans-Joe. We've been kind of this ghost band playing covers and trying out soul, and all of us take turns doing vocals. The vibe with Lori Ottino, Karina Wilson, Margaret Burke and Arne Bey is just awesome. I think it sounds great with Joe and without Joe."
2. Drastic Andrew (guitarist/producer)
"There are elements of the Stones and Neil Young and maybe even a little Phish…I operate as the producer and help with the arrangement as we develop new songs. Andrew MacLauchlan is an unusual songwriter—totally unique. We're really starting to gel, and it has turned into this rock project, which I didn't see coming. It started as this quirky country thing, but it's so cathartic now to turn up the electric and rock out. Most other projects, I play acoustic. The one thing is that it isn't easy to play as a rock band and get a lot of shows here. We rock the Cowgirl when we play there, but it's not the easiest fit."
3. D Numbers (multi-instrumentalist/producer/composer)
"We aren't super-active as a band right now, but we are as a label. Mesa Recordings and D Numbers are two different sides of the same three guys. We're constantly meeting and checking out demos, so it takes a lot of time and energy to keep things moving the way we want. We're getting more submissions all the time and really bolstering the Mesa catalog to create a solid lineup of music that's in line with our aesthetic, which is a lot more particular than we originally thought. Our next big project is a selection of remixes from our catalog to date. We gave the tracks to producers and composers we've met over the years and got so many fabulous remixes."
4. DJ Bacon (producer/composer)
"Bacon is my DJ act, and it's good for me to keep the project running, because it keeps my ears to the ground. I like to know what the current styles are, and in DJing, it can be challenging because there's a lot of sameness to electronic music, but when you find those great jams…it's good to stay on top of what's relevant."
5. Meow Wolf (musical director)
"Currently, I have about 150 clips that range from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, and they will all be playing randomly throughout the new Meow Wolf space. The challenge is to make it last for the long haul, as in years or decades. That's where self-generating elements are important. The content can keep on being generated as well, and certain spaces will feature other artists. The design is still coming together, but mostly my MO is to have it be this living composition that can also feature my favorite local producers and composers."
6. Detroit Lightning
"It's a Grateful Dead cover band, and it's turned into this totally popular and extremely fun project. At first I thought, 'Are we really gonna do this?' but I changed my tune on that. There's this nostalgia and culture built up around the Dead, and to help people access those memories has been amazing. Not only that, but the ethos of the band and the way they played, it was reckless, and they were always pushing the boundaries of improvisational music, and there are a lot of Dead Heads in Santa Fe, so I really just try to do that justice."
Santa Fe Reporter