The late Betty Witham's musical influence continues to inspire her son Ben, who's included his mum in his band name as a tribute to the "brilliant local musician".
Ben Witham & The Betty Band will showcase its original folk-rock and blues tunes at the Lighthouse Studio on Friday night as part of the Warrnambool Storytelling Festival.
The Warrnambool-born singer-songwriter crafts stories in song about love, loss, the natural world, finding meaning and confronting injustices.
Witham brings more than four decades of songwriting and performing at Victorian and south-west events.
Witham said on Friday night the band would launch its EP A Few More Songs which follows its earlier EP A Few Songs. He's also working on an album to be released later this year.
The performance will include a Welcome to Country by Indigenous Elder Lenny Clarke, a longtime friend of Witham's since the 1970s.
Witham draws inspiration from artists including James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen and complex storytellers.
He said his songs were a rich and diverse mix of both bright and uplifting tunes, as well those with darker and more serious themes.
The band name is a nod to his late mum, "a brilliant local musician", who died in 2003. He said she was a highly-accomplished Warrnambool pianist and church organ player from the 1950s to the 1990s.
Mrs Witham was the Warrnambool Theatre Group's pianist for more than thirty years and the Christ Church, Church of England pipe organist for 34 years and the accompanying pianist for vocalists competing in the Warrnambool Eisteddfod.
"Mum was an inspiration in being very musical and in her tenacity to practice really complex music to really work hard at my guitar and keyboard and to work hard on my songs," Witham said.
He said music became a powerful bond between the pair and he had fond memories as an adult of his mum playing classical and popular songs from their times together, which he would sometimes sing along to.
"It was a wonderful treat to sit back on the couch at the family home in Warrnambool and make requests," Witham said.
It's on Friday at the Lighthouse Theatre at 7.30pm.
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