Ben’s father was Tom Paley, founder member of the New Lost City Ramblers. His mother is Claudia Gould, a fine singer with a deep involvement in folk music. His stepfather, Ron Gould, is a guitarist and was a prominent skiffler with a very great and wide knowledge of a whole range of music, particularly jazz and folk music. So Ben grew up hearing a wide variety of very interesting music. He wanted to take up the fiddle from the age of six, and was given strong encouragement. He did not think of life as a performer until he was in his early 20s.
When this article was commissioned I had a good idea of the shape it would take. I've admired Sara Grey's music for twenty years, been in a band with her, become a good friend along the way, and feel that I know pretty well what she's about. When we were rehearsing at her place some ten years ago, I remember her son Kieron Means (the name comes from Sara's first husband) talking to me about his teenage dream of 'making it' with a band. And here he was now, Sara told me, doing gigs on the folk scene and playing back-up on her new album. I was pleased; it's fun to play music with your kid.