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Merrick Avenue Middle schooler shredding at 13

Teenage rock trio to make NYC debut at the Cutting Room


In Ben Goldsmith’s Merrick home, things get loud. What’s normally a quaint living room regularly morphs into a space for jamming.

Sitting with his back to the large TV, Jack McDon-ough adjusted tempos on a set of white drums while James Bandini plucked his bass and Goldsmith strummed his Les Paul, which was hooked up to an amplifier.

The group is Ben Goldsmith and the Original Band, and while these players may be young — Bandini and McDonough are 16 and 15, respectively, and Goldsmith is only 13 — they have the musical prowess to impress, as evidenced by a recent state-trotting tour, award recognition and their upcoming New York City debut at the Cutting Room, a well-known venue among musicians.

“I have to pinch myself every two seconds,” McDonough said of his excitement.

“I mean, it’s just crazy,” Goldsmith added.

Originally branded the Sons of Sound with a different drummer, the band gave its first public performance at K.J. Farrell’s in Bellmore last August. Since then it has played at dozens of venues — both popular and low-key joints — including a summer tour that took it to the heart of Southern blues.

In May, the Original Band set off on its first road trip toward Dallas, where it played in a competition against other young musicians at the International Guitar Festival’s “10 Under 20” contest.

“We rehearsed our butts off so we’d be as good as possible,” Goldsmith, a student at Merrick Avenue Middle School, recounted. It paid off: The band walked away with first place. The intricate glass trophy from the contest is proudly displayed in Goldsmith’s home, marking “the beginning of our career as a band,” he said.

“We thought we’d get third, maybe second place,” Bandini, of Oceanside, said.

“Now we’re even better,” McDonough added.

The touring didn’t stop there. A week in Nashville, Tenn., immersed the three in the city’s vibrant and historic music culture. “There was music everywhere,” Goldsmith recalled. At the National Association of Music Merchants Show, they played on the Gibson booth’s stage, attracting the praise of seasoned artists.

Some of their biggest shows were at influential spots such as Antone’s Nightclub in Austin, Texas, and others at smaller, more intimate venues in Birmingham, Ala., and Little Rock, Ark. “Every city had a different vibe,” Goldsmith said, each introducing them to new styles and sounds that impacted the band’s music.

Their style — “country and blues, but with a rock element,” as Goldsmith described — is still influenced by each member, too. “Sometimes we just have a feeling and we need to get it out, so we try to record it,” he said. One player might craft a new melody one day, and another might create a new verse the next. “Sometimes we just start jamming without even talking,” McDonough said.

The experience is preparing them for their “biggest show yet,” Goldsmith said, at the Cutting Room on Nov. 17. In a 90-minute set, they’ll play original songs, but kept the specifics under wraps.

“There will be a few special instrumental surprises,” Goldsmith teased, adding that playing on the Cutting Room stage has always been a dream of his.

Meanwhile, samples of their music can be found on their Instagram page,

@bengoldsmithoriginalband, or their self-titled YouTube channel. Tickets for the Cutting Room show can be purchased at eventbrite.com.

And professionally recorded versions of their best songs will soon be available on streaming services. “We have to take it slow and be steady,” Goldsmith said.

“And we have a lot of time,” Bandini said.