Where Paths Cross by Ben Weaver

Fresh from a winter biking trip through the North country, musician Ben Weaver returns to the political and cultural fray, asking: What do we value? How do those values define our culture? How could we cultivate systems of value that stem from being in relationship to things, rather than consuming, extracting, and taking from them?

I’d rather build a fire. Rather have cold hands from gathering wood.Rather sleep in the dirt, wake up with frost and coyotes, confuse the day moon for a fish eye or scale. I can’t pay attention to the news, but I can listen for hours to what the rough land has to tell. Can follow the light through the branches, back and back. Seeking wildness: smoothly, steadily, resiliently.  Continue reading here....

A Musical Tour By Bike Through the Netherlands by Ben Weaver

When I first attempted to make a living as a musician I was driving around the country playing in little coffee shops and sleeping at rest stops in the back of an 1985 Ford F150. Those days were fed by an ambitious romanticism for a ragged, hand to mouth life on the road.

It wasn't long before the romantic edge wore off and I began growing tired of playing to tiny audiences in sad bars. Luckily after releasing my third record, Hollerin’ at a Woodpecker, I got a break. The famed British rock and roll magazine MOJO gave Woodpecker a 4 out of 5 star review naming it Americana Album of the month. Suddenly I had all kinds of invites to go across the pond and perform. This was long before I had started riding to my shows by bicycle while carrying my instruments.

Back in March of 2016 I received an invite to come perform at a festival in Katowice, Poland that coming November. I forwarded the offer to my European booking agent who recommended we add additional shows to the festival making the trip into a mini tour. I was excited by this prospect. I had not toured Europe sine 2011 and had been eager to do a musical tour by bike there ever since. Continue Reading here....

Laurentian Divide Overnight Route by Ben Weaver

For the next year, and likely the foreseeable future, I’ll be working on a series of trips focused around the Superior National Forest in the Northeast corner of Minnesota. The following route is the first ride I’m counting towards this project. The trip began in Ely, MN where I met my friends Levi and Kellen. For both, this would be their first trip on a fat bike and their first bike- powered overnight. Both have tons of all season camping experience so packing the bikes I brought up for them to use went smoothly and felt intuitive. Read the rest here:

Considering Leaves: After John Trudell by Ben Weaver

I was very honored to recently have a new poem titled, Considering Leaves: After John Trudell, published by the Dark Mountain Project.  The response from the readership was incredibly overwhelming and since I don't feel much like I own the songs or the poems, but rather more that they are passing through me and it is my job to help them find their way into peoples lives, this poem been incredibly satisfying to share.  You can read the poem in it's entirety here.  

To the Edges We Must Run by Ben Weaver

Ben Weaver on the trouble with lionizing artists' struggles, with a call for boldness in the face of want, solidarity with the land and each other, and seeking brave solutions at the edges, rather than swimming comfortably in the mainstream.  

A stranger came to town. Down the frozen roads. Barely made it up the hill. She left early the next morning. Some say they planned it all along. It’s true, there are so many different kinds of dark. Everybody is wondering what will end up in the fire.

I had flown across the pond and was riding to shows in the Netherlands. Hadn't been over there for years, and not since making the choice to tour by bicycle.... Continue reading

2016 Gratitude by Ben Weaver

2016 was full of many rides, incredible people, water, learning, challenges, grace, and partnership. I am humbled and grateful for it all. Here are some words collected in looking back.

Singing by the fire. The lake opens to the river, the river runs to the ocean. Glacial erratics. Bedrock at the surface. Now my bones are showing. Followed the watershed back to Homer. Green and black Mukluk. Bathing in waterfalls. Sleeping in a patch of woods next to the Sterling Highway. Starting a fire with the pizza box. The conversation was about how the shape of the stones resembled the shape of the boulders which resembled the shape of the mountain we sat gazing up at. Down on all fours filling our hats with blueberries. Congruence and sounds from the trail.

Singing by the lake. Snow blocking the sun. Nobby treads among fox tracks, squirrel, moose, deer, otter and a spotted woodpecker feather. At morning ravens circling the tent, staked out with driftwood, snow tumbling from red pine boughs. Hanging glaciers in the civil twilight. It all runs together. Water does not segregate. Woodsmoke. The year cannot be divided into highlights. The threads are woven together revealing only one continuous path forward. Alongside two oceans, under windmills, atop canals, beside moraines, sloughs, salmon boats, subsistence netters and at times within the river itself. The laughter of friends spreading across the surface of the water. Playing like dogs in the sun. Huddled like birds in the rain. Gravel and blue sky, stars in the night, like old nails in barn wood. Home is where you lite the fire. 

Singing by the river. Mud in my teeth. Frog belly moon hurdling the constellations. Over Marrakesh. Amsterdam. Pedaling for the imagination, not the clock. Endless color. Gathering roots in the forest. My bowl facing open to the sky in gratitude. The harvest depends on what you plant. An athlete is an artist. Riding the edges of puddles. Perhaps the greatest risk is to postpone writing down your dream in the exact moment that it wakes you from sleep, hoping that it will return to you later in the day. Chances are pretty good it wont return. That said, go now. Already, another year has passed.

Overland Route To the Boundary Water by Ben Weaver

I was invited to perform at a celebration to welcome my friends Dave and Amy Freeman back from their year in the wilderness to protect the Boundary Waters from proposed sulfide copper mines in partnership with the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters.  In order to get to Ely I planned an overland ride from Two Harbors, MN in which I rode less than 10 miles of paved road through the Superior National Forest. Read the ride story and see the route via the Salsa Cycles Black River page.  

Ramble Ramble: This Prairie Has Always Been Her Ocean by Ben Weaver

During the second weekend of August I traveled to Pope County, Minnesota, where I attended My Ocean, an outdoor, site-specific sound and performance installation at the Ordway Prairie Nature Preserve, co-created by performance artist Bethany Lacktorin and director / composer / musician James Everest. For each performance, Lacktorin and Everest led small groups of audience members on a 1.5 mile-long walk along a carefully composed pathway of sound, song, memoir, history, and ecologically diverse habitat. Continue reading...... 

Winter Travel and Event Recap by Ben Weaver

Throughout the past couple of years, it’s become a tradition for me to play a show in La Crosse, Wisconsin, the Saturday following Thanksgiving. I usually get down there early in the day and wander through the frozen backwaters, islands, and floodplain forests that lay between La Crosse and Winona, Minnesota. This year I was looking forward to exploring these winter landscapes on my Salsa Blackborow with instruments in tow..... continue reading.  

Ramble Ramble: Shall We Cross, Beer and Water by Ben Weaver

On the last day of April, I led the concluding ride for 30 Days of Biking. In roughly 25 miles, our group of about 60 riders rambled up and then back down the river, making a handful of stops, most notably to participate in a river clean-up near the Columbia Park neighborhood, where St. Anthony Parkway meets the Mississippi. Then to Izzy’s ice cream to try a new flavor that owner Jeff Sommers made in collaboration with Bent Paddle Beer especially for us. The ride ended at Surly Brewery, where I gave a performance. What follows is a piece written from reflections I had as we rode that day and questions that have occurred to me before, during, and since the event. Continue Reading.....

A Year In The Wilderness Resupply by Ben Weaver

March 15th 2016 I will head up to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in support of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters to deliver a resupply to Explorers Dave and Amy Freeman of A Year in the Wilderness. Dave and Amy are living in the Boundary Waters for 12 months. Their aim is to raise awareness about the need to protect the Boundary Waters from the threat posed by proposed sulfide-ore copper mining operations, from Twin Metals and others, which will pollute the pristine waters and unspoiled forests of the Boundary Waters.

In order to live, we need food, water and shelter. Thus, these are the obvious items on the standard resupply list. We often talk about water and forests as resources, forgetting about the restorative and healing merits they possess. In the same way, we often only think about a resupply in terms of the food to fill our bellies and the various other technical supplies needed, frequently forgetting about the subtle things that risk running dry. We need the stories, songs, poems and conversation that provide greater context and meaning to our inward reflections.  

For many of us the Boundary Waters is a place to go when we need to connect and replenish our inner selves with peace, quiet and refection. Dave and Amy are living in the Wilderness in order to protect the equal opportunity for everyone to have a place that fulfills this need, and ensure that it is there for generations to come.

I will ride from Ely, MN, to a BWCA entry point, where I will hike in with my banjo and guitar. My resupply will consist of songs, stories and poems that I hope will help bring them further joy and add meaning to their brave and beautiful statement of spending A Year in the Wilderness. I am honored to be joined by Bill DeVille of Minnesota Public Radio radio station The Current, who will be documenting my resupply and performance.  

Additional Support for this trip has been provided by Granite Gear, Bent Paddle Brewing Co., Big Agnes, Salsa Cycles, Banjo Brothers, Swrve, Red Table Meat Co, and Angry Catfish Bicycle Shop.