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phan ithconcertFrom the Mexican border all the way into Canada, Ben Phan walked 2,668 miles with a guitar on his back. The result is a debut album, "Dreams in Modern Folk," described by one reviewer as "Django Reinhardt meets Ray Lamontagne." Phan's original music is a blend of gypsy jazz, bluegrass, classical, and folk, a unique synthesis all his own. On July 23, Phan will play one concert only in Ithaca, at 7:30 pm in the Ecovillage Song Common House

The Ithaca concert is part of a multi-state tour for Phan to introduce new audiences to his music. Although his last concert in Asheville, NC, played to a sold-out audience of 250, Phan says he's looking forward to the smaller venues on his tour.

"I love the intimacy in smaller rooms and house concerts," he explains. "I can connect more directly with the audience."

Phan began his professional career with Afrobeat, a band playing a blend of jazz, funk and African dance music; he also played with a bluegrass and folk group. But when Phan decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in 2014, his music – and his life -- changed forever. He brought along a mini-guitar and during five months of travel on foot he began writing songs, drawn from his experiences on the trail as well as his past struggles with depression, addiction, loss and love. The music offered hope and solace, to him and to the audiences he found along the trail.

After Phan returned to North Carolina, he released his first solo EP, "Hold On, Let Go." Earlier this year he released his "Dreams in Modern Folk" with his band, the Soul Symphony, comprised of some of the most in-demand musicians in Asheville. "I strive hard for a high level of professionalism, and I think they appreciate that," says Phan.

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