Guitarist, composer and producer Ross Bellenoit will celebrate the release of his debut album as a solo artist on December 18th.  To mark this joyous occasion, Bellenoit will be performing at  Johnny Brenda’s along with Birdie Busch and Zach Djanikian (both of whom he has had the pleasure of collaborating with.) The ten-track album, Eight Track Mind, will be released as an LP on 12-inch vinyl, and for those of you who have moved past tangible collections of songs, the vinyl comes with a Digital Download card so you can listen to the record via ITunes.

Bellenoit moved to Philadephia in 2003, and it wasn’t long before he became a highly sought-after guitar player for many prominent musicians in the city.  He has had the privilege of playing with such renowned artists as  Amos Lee, John Francis, and Devin Greenwood. Apart from lending a six-string hand to some of Philadelphia’s leading songwriters, he spends a great deal of time in the studio, having done production work for a variety of albums, including rock, jazz and R&B records.  With all of his creative projects as guitar sideman, Bellenoit has finally brought to the forefront a beautiful collection from his own foray into songwriting.

The origins of the album hail from a collaboration with bassist Jaren Olevsky and drummer Freddie Berman, whom Bellenoit formed bonds with on Amos Lee’s 2007 tour.  The three joined forces to play Bellenoit’s music as a trio called “The Little Rolling Thunder Review” for months after the tour.  They recorded the whole album in a weekend on an eight-track tape machine, undoubtedly the inspiration for the title of the record.  It took two years of work before the album was completed this past summer, a long-awaited masterpiece of Bellenoit’s unique musical voice, inspired by that of the artists he has had the privilege of playing with.

Bellenoit’s songs are filled with musical and lyrical poignancy; his melodies, riffs, basslines and drum grooves set the perfect mood for his stories.  Influences of some the jazz guitar greats such as Richard Thompson and Bill Frissel can be heard throughout this stylistically versatile set of songs, but his tunes also give a nod to ‘60s and ‘70s artists like the Turtles and Elvis Costello.  Lyrically poetic, his songs touch on subjects ranging from self-reliance, to attitudes toward love, to the dangers of human nature.  From grating guitar solos to smooth, tight-knit pop riffs, Bellenoit’s music will not only strike a chord with you instrumentally, it’ll send you to new trains of thought and give you a little insight into experiences that are part of life and loss.  He is truly talented in his ability to craft melodies and textures that stay true to the heart and soul of a song, mirroring his conviction that one of the most important things to think about when playing is “[…surrendering] yourself completely to the moment.” (from

Johnny Brenda’s is located at 1201 Frankford Ave., in Fishtown, PA.  The show is 21+ and tickets are $10.

Culture Ross Bellenoit Album Release at Johnny Brenda’s