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The Most Dynamic of Duos

Updated: Jan 9

Dynamic Duos event by Jason Benefield

Image by Captain Thunderbeard, LLC/Jason Benefield

The highly-anticipated Dynamic Duos show at Roxy Theater in Downtown Lockport is finally taking place this Sunday, December 10th at 6pm! This is the first event put on by incredibly talented troubadour, Jason Benefield under the name Captain Thunderbeard, LLC. This showcase will highlight four singer-songwriter duos based in the Chicagoland community: Echo and Ransom, The Simple Remedy, Darling Victory, and Aaron Kelly plus myself. As we get closer to the show, I spoke with Benefield about his time working alongside extraordinary songstress, Colleen Wild as well as his experience coordinating this exciting event. 

Some of the most delectable dishes take the longest to cook. When asked about the origin story of Echo and Ransom, Benefield says that he knew Wild for over a decade before this incredible musical partnership was even born. While Jason was in college, he was on the lookout for a band and stumbled across an intriguing advertisement consisting of local musicians searching for a guitarist. “When I started college in the late 90s my school provided free internet service for students, so I had internet at my house for the first time”, Benefield recalls, “I was browsing musician classifieds because I wanted to try to hook up with a band as a guitar player in addition to going out and playing my own stuff. I saw a listing posted by a country band with a young, prodigy vocalist and songwriter, looking for a lead player.” The band in question was the earliest version of The Colleen Wild Band.

An early photo of Jason Benefield and his Echo and Ransom partner, Colleen Wild

Although it was not the right fit for Benefield at the time due to wanting to pursue his own project, he continued to follow Wild’s musical journey for years. Fast forward to 2016, Wild was in need of a guitarist due to a last minute cancellation. The stars were aligned and Benefield was available to take the gig. Benfield reminisces about singing with Wild for the first time after a long time in one of their first duo rehearsals when he describes, “I remember the feeling when our voices blended again after all that time. It was like putting on your favorite hoodie”. The two have been going strong ever since. From coining the name “Echo and Ransom’ in 2017 to currently playing shows with each other every other week, they have come a long way. Echo and Ransom have become one of the most prominent and admired duos in the Chicagoland area. Benefield’s favorite musical duos of all-time include Simon and Garfunkel, Johnny Cash and June Carter, Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons. However, Echo and Ransom is a personal favorite of mine and many others. The respect and musicality that these two share with each other is a masterclass in the art of collaboration. Benefield talks of how extensively working with Wild for 7 years has contributed to his growth as an artist. He explains how they have helped each other hone their musical skills when he states, “She’s one of the best singers I’ve ever heard, and if you’re gonna keep up with her you better bring your A-game.” He continues, “I’ve also never been great at hearing harmonies, but I can always find one with her. I’m starting to see that translate into other projects. She’s become a better guitar player in the past 7 years, and I like to think that I’ve had a little bit to do with that.” What aids them as a unit is that they are friends first then bandmates.“Beyond all that, though, I love working with Colleen because I like being around Colleen. We’re really good friends and have been for a long time. We’ve always had good chemistry, and it gets even better as we continue to play together. It’s just easy”, he states.

Echo and Ransom, Colleen Wild and Jason Benefield

Image by Lara Benefield Photography

Captain Thunderbeard is the start of a new chapter for Benefield. He has recently established himself as a LLC after following a friend’s journey going through the process and realizing that he could do it too. He describes how the incredibly unique and creative name was handed to him when stating, “My wife is a nanny, and there was a little boy she watched years ago at our house. She would walk with him to meet me at the train station when I would get home from work and we’d all walk back to our place together. He had a huge imagination and, one day, he was giving everybody superhero/supervillain names. He named me “Captain Thunderbeard.”. It is fitting that Benefield’s first event under Captain Thunderbeard is all about uplifting other duos in the music community. He has been super excited to spend time with the lineup of singer-songwriter duos that inspire him but are always working when he is (the downside of having fellow-musicians as your friend group).  Although Benefield never “intended” to start a production company, he says that it is a possibility that more events will be born from this special first one. He recognizes how there is so much talent in this community that deserves to be in the spotlight. “I’m really good friends with everybody on this bill, and I’m really excited to get us all together in one place. If this works, I’m already compiling a list of potential acts for another one. There’s so much talent in this local scene that you could probably do a 3-day festival and still not get everybody on the bill that you’d like to have. It’s an embarrassment of riches”, he concludes. Don't miss the show on Sunday! Get your tickets here.


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