There are tons of underrated and underrated artists who keep it real and stay true to themselves and their music despite the dominant country dictating what sells. Few artists embody this and are as underrated as Benjamin Tod.
The Cottonwood, Tennessee native is as real as it gets, and his authenticity shines through in his honest lyrics and incredible guitar playing.
According to his website, Tod spent most of his childhood under the care of his grandparents. He received his first guitar at age seven, but didn’t learn to play until he was 14. Soon after, Tod was kicked out of school and found himself playing the streets of Nashville, years before the city became as commercial as it is. now.
Tod’s teenage years were defined by music, train hopping and drug addiction. It was during these years that he met Ashley Mae, future wife and member of the Lost Dog Street Band, in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.
A self-taught violinist from Rapid City, South Dakota, Ashley had moved to Nashville with her mother who worked for a rock radio station. At 17, the two got together to hop on trains and travel the country playing music on the city streets.
After playing in various bands, they formed Lost Dog Street Band together in 2010. LDSB struggled at first, however, and the band’s debut was far from successful.
But thanks to an invitation from bluegrass band The Devil Makes Three to tour with them, that kept them afloat. Since then, the rest is history.
Outspoken drug addict Tod and his wife Ashley Mae have now settled on land in Kentucky that they maintain themselves and spend most of their time when not on the road with LDSB .
With LDSB, they have released more than seven albums since 2011, including those of 2022 Glorywhich deals with Tod’s addictions and recovery and is without a doubt one of the best albums of the year so far.
And aside from the band, Tod has released two solo albums in the last few years, 2017 I will get up and 2019 A heart of gold is hard to find.
Between these 9 albums, Tod has a deep catalog of music to showcase his talents. A thoughtful songwriter with a unique voice that seems to perfectly match the thoughtful and heavy content of his music, Tod has plenty of top songs in his collection.
I could try to go on and on about the quality of the music, but it would probably be better if you heard it for yourself.
Here are 15 of my favorite songs from Lost Dog Street Band and Benjamin Tod.
15. “A heart of gold is hard to find” – Benjamin Tod – A heart of gold is hard to find (2017)
14. “I will rise” – Benjamin Tod – I will get up (2019)
13. “What’s Keeping Me Up Now” – Lost Dog Street Band – Glory (2022)
12. “When I Came Down to Georgia – Lost Dog Street Band – Back home (2015)
11. “In Heaven From Here” – Lost Dog Street Band – Weight of a trigger (2019)
10. “Burst Love” – Benjamin Tod – I will get up (2019)
9. “Cannon Fodder” – Benjamin Tod – A heart of gold is hard to find (2017)
8. “End With You” – Lost Dog Street Band – Glory (2022)
7. “Terrible and True” – Lost Dog Street Band – Weight of a trigger (2019)
6. “Fight like hell to be free” – Lost Dog Street Band – Glory (2022)
My favorite song from the spectacular LDSB album Glory which they released in January.
5. “Weight of a Trigger” – Lost Dog Street Band – Weight of a trigger (2019)
4. “Sorry about the things” – Benjamin Tod – A heart of gold is hard to find (2017)
3. “Using again” – Benjamin Tod – I will get up (2019)
2. “We’re not even related” – Benjamin Tod – A heart of gold is hard to find (2017)
As he explains in the song, Benjamin Tod wrote this song about a grandfather figure who helped raise him, even though they aren’t actually related by blood.
“He read me the Bible until midnight
And he tanned my skin when he caught me lying
When I dropped out of school we fought
And we lost some years in our stupid pride
Now I don’t know if I’m better or worse for the ddistance
But we don’t care ’cause there’s nothing to learn from resentment
Life is defined by decisions
You can burn bridges you don’t have time to mend
You’re too old to be like this
You are too young for the lord to welcome you”
1. “September Doves” – Lost Dog Street Band – Rage and Tragedy (2016)
In my opinion, this is some of Tod’s best writing, and the September doves metaphor is just too good.
“My grandmother’s lullabies used to sing me to sleep
I can’t sleep these days without liquid relief
Well if lullabies were whiskey, my grandma’s drinks were cheap
I can’t afford to sleep anymore
And we were never made for love our souls are way too old
But loneliness needs company and a lost dog needs a home
So you’ll be the fire and I’ll be the coal
Baby we can lose control
We could choose any old road and start over
Damn we could change our names and try to forget
Lord knows I’ll be sorry when it’s done
But circumstances brought us down like September doves
Don’t stop there, there are plenty of other songs worth missing out on between Lost Dog Street Band and Tod’s solo work. Go check it out for yourself.