Ben Miller Band set to rock Steamboat on Friday |

Ben Miller Band set to rock Steamboat on Friday

Musical science

Luke Graham

The Ben Miller Band plays at 7 p.m. Friday at the Chief Theater. The cost is $10.

— The members of the Ben Miller Band are like a couple of mad scientists of music.

It's tough to pinpoint a particular sound. Imagine taking a test tube and tossing in some Delta blues, a little bluegrass, some New Orleans big brass sounds, a harmonica, some funk, a washboard, some soul and a little ska, among others.

Out comes some Tom Petty- and Bruce Springsteen-like sounds, some punk riffs, Appalachian soul, war hymns, the blues sound and some straight backwoods jamming.

Needless to say, it's tough to classify the Joplin, Mo., three-piece band. Their sound is country and blues, but it's not.

It's unique, it's different and it's perfect for all ages.

"It's accessible by a lot of different people," said Doug Dicharry, who plays the drums, mandolin, trombone, trumpet and washboard. "It fits into a lot of demographics. For older people, it's reminiscent of old-style country, bluegrass. But it's real danceable. There is some elements of techno and hip-hop. People love the ingenuity of all these strange instruments."

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The band plays at the Chief Theater on Friday. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at All That Jazz and at the door.

The group formed eight years ago in Joplin and has started to rise up the ranks. It just got back to the U.S. after opening for ZZ Top on the iconic band's European tour.

Dicharry said the tour was an epic experience and something that helped the band tighten its set.

One night, the band would play in front of 2,500 people. The next, it might be 10,000.

"You get a little bit of the nerves," he said. "Once you start playing, you just play music."

That's what the trio does best.

Its latest album, "Heavy Load," is an easy listen. The various styles meld with different sounds throughout.

Ben Miller's guitar slides and banjo are ever present. Scott Leeper on bass and Dicharry on his various instruments all get play throughout.

Dicharry called the album "an experiment."

"Half of those songs we did we'd done live and had those down," he said. "The rest, we just wrote in the studio. Sometimes, we'd be like, 'Oh, that sounds like crap’ or ‘Man that sounds awesome.’"

The band’s live performance, though, has stepped it up a notch. Dicharry said the band plans another album for the winter with more preproduction going into it.

But opening for ZZ Top, often in front of audiences that had never heard of the Ben Miller Band, made the group play lights out every night.

Dicharry said they expect nothing less for Friday.

"We brought it every night," he said. "It was wonderful."

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

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