Artist Feature: Benny Skyn

photo by dan hamilton

By: Emily Meadows

Leaving a Benny Skyn show, a chilling sense of country revival leaves you with the sensation that you just made a new best friend.

Appalachia has served as home for countless emotionally fueled songwriters who hold a seemingly endless storybook of erratic life experience. From crazy women, to the consequences of a little too much to drink, and nearly everything in-between, it’s not hard to see that Benny Skyn is no exception.

With his cowboy hat in place and only a guitar by his side, Skyn gave a live solo performance in the Gluck Theater on February 6, 2012 that left heads nodding, toes tapping, and was as soulful, upbeat and enjoyable as it was chillingly relatable.

“I write about social injustices, love, and life observations,” says Skyn. “I like finding humor in tragedy.”

After playing guitar for nearly 40 years, Benny Skyn has poured his heart into his pragmatic lyrics and exemplified his soul through his striking and perfectly chaotic guitar riffs. While a native to West Virginia, Skyn has explored his southern roots, previously residing in North Carolina and creating ties in Tennessee. Meshing together his Appalachian roots with his southern exposure, Skyn has shaped an indisputable mix of country, folk and rock and roll to fill the soundtrack for a countryside winding road trip.

photo by dan hamilton

“I draw influence by taking a look at the world around me, and the people in my life, both good and bad,” says Skyn.

The key to Skyn’s artistry seems to be his ability to use his eyes and ears to photograph the world around him, and then utilize his natural ability to personify images and experiences lyrically while remaining entirely relatable.

Projecting a sound that could melt the hearts of Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings fans alike, Skyn has pulled influence from an influx of musical talent outside the country realm.

“Tom T. Hall has been a huge influence, lots of Elton John, the Doors, Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Maurice Ravel…the list goes on,” says Skyn.

With an apparent eager enthusiasm for a multiplicity of music, he credits those musicians who influenced him to pick up a guitar at age 8, and gave him the confidence to create his own sound.

Embracing a truly authentic and down to earth personality, it is hard to find modern day artists as humble as Skyn who are not only passionate, but also personable. As a solo artist, his main concern is not finding exposure, seeking fame, or depositing a million dollar paycheck. He simply wants to utilize music to share his story with the world, uncensored and without reservation.

photo by dan hamilton

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