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Area musician releases first album after four years in the making

Ben Ranson has been playing the guitar since the age of 13. He looks up to artists like Jimi Hendrix for inspiration. (Riham Feshir / Enterprise)

When Ben Ranson decided to produce his first album four years ago, he didn't know the process would be as difficult and lengthy as it turned out.

But he wouldn't have done it any other way.

As a young teenager, he started playing the guitar and listening to albums like "Electric Lady Land" by Jimi Hendrix.

"I became very focused on producing something like this album," he said. "It just seemed to me like it was a natural thing to do."

Ranson, who grew up in Sebeka and works for the Hubbard County Developmental Achievement Center, released his debut album "Eighteen Wheels of Pain" earlier this month.

The single tells the story of a truck driver who enjoys his job but finds it a daunting task, which is also the story behind producing the album: Painful but enjoyable.

"It's a pretty complicated thing to do," Ranson said. "A lot of people thought 'he'll never finish.'"

Most of the other lyrics were done years before he began producing the album. However, a lot of rewriting and reorganizing was done.

Ranson said he rewrote each song about 200 times before the final product was released.

"I'm kind of a perfectionist," he said.

But he had the advantage of knowing many musicians who attended school with him at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Having to produce music that fit the lyrics was the challenge.

Every single part of the album and every instrument was recorded on a different day, he said.

The album has 15 songs and is a mix of rock n' roll, heavy metal, country western and electronica.

"Rather than being a collection of songs, I was thinking about how will they all fit together," Ranson said.

Ranson is currently building his own studio, but the entire recording was done in "Caveman Music," a dark basement recording studio in Massachusetts.

He moved back to Minnesota two years ago where he finished up all of the mixing and mastering with the help of experienced engineers in the Twin Cities.

The album is sold through Tin Ceiling and on Ranson's Web site at

A CD release party is slated for July 10 at the New York Mills Cultural Center. You might also run into Ranson at Bella Café in Park Rapids as he occasionally performs there.