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 , Keith Glass (Prairie Oyster), Finest Kind , and Grouyan Gombo. She currently directs the two Ottawa chapters of Georgette Fry’s community women’s choir, Shout Sister! (shoutsister.ca).
Jody performs with Michael Ball in Ball and Chain & The Wreckers, an Ottawa based band with Michael and Jody 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.