Biography

 

Rooted in vocal harmonies, acoustic and electric guitar, piano, banjo and an eclectic range of additional instrumentation and soulful arrangements, Beta Radio’s Americana-folk sound is the result of a decade-long collaboration between Ben Mabry and Brent Holloman.

Mabry and Holloman met at summer camp in the North Carolina mountains while on break from high school and immediately formed a musical kinship, bonding over the sounds of another musical duo, Simon and Garfunkel. Throughout high school and college, they found themselves in multiple hard rock and metal bands, an ironic juxtaposition considering the 60's folk sound that first brought them together. When weekly rehearsals and occasional live gigs with various other groups were done, the two would return to their homes to write folk songs together, using traditional arrangements as the framework for their new exercises in lyric and musical composition.

Through a cycle of “on again, off again” writing and demoing during and after college, Mabry and Holloman had a collection of songs ready for a studio, and in the winter of 2009 they sat down to record their debut album, Seven Sisters. Seven Sisters was originally conceived as an EP, but when Mabry and Holloman left the studio in the winter of 2009, they had more songs than the typical EP, but less than a standard release. Out of money, they made the decision to record more material on their own, despite the fact that neither knew how to properly engineer or produce. By the following spring they had an additional four songs recorded in Holloman’s house with borrowed equipment and their debut was released in April 2010. Seven Sisters was recorded and distributed without label support and enjoyed a grassroots success built largely on the back of internet music services Pandora and Spotify. Each song on the record takes you to a place where love is essential and simple, the landscapes are ghostly and the stars hold the promise of your future once you learn how to read them.

Beta Radio’s latest release, Colony of Bees, is a layered and ethereal offering that treads into new territory while at the same time managing to effortlessly keep one foot firmly rooted in the Americana-folk arena that they have called home for many years. The Huffington Post calls Colony of Bees "sonically lovely" and included it in the top ten roundup of their 40 "Best Albums of 2014." This new album was written, produced and recorded largely at home and totally independently, an ethos that began with Seven Sisters, and continues today. The songs here feel at the same time ancient and new, familiar enough to have an instant closeness with, yet still unknown and calling you back again for another listen.

 

Ben Mabry

vocals, guitar, glockenspiel, harmonium,
piano and additional arrangements

Brent Holloman

guitar, banjo, vocals, bass, piano
and additional arrangements