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Ranson releases debut album

Former Bemidji resident Ben Ranson released his debut album, "Eighteen Wheels of Pain," April 7. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

When Ben Ranson started playing guitar more than a dozen years ago, it quickly struck a chord with him.

"I pretty much got serious about it right away," said Ranson, a 26-year-old former Bemidji resident who released his debut album, "Eighteen Wheels of Pain," April 7.

Ranson, who now lives in Sebeka, Minn., started working on the album in 2004, and a few short passages on it were written as early as 1999 or 2000.

"I'm a perfectionist and I wanted it to be good," he said.

Ranson wrote all the music and lyrics for the 15 songs on his album. He describes his sound as country western, heavy metal, progressive rock and electronica with a hint of Indian classical music. He said he integrated these types of music into his album.

He recorded most of the album while he was living in Boston, where he graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor of Music degree in professional music from Berklee College of Music.

"I'm currently starting to form a band," he said, noting that the name of the band will be Eighteen Wheels of Pain.

However, he noted that he is at a crossroads in his life. He said he could really focus on the band and performing, or move to Nashville and try to sell songs he has written.

"I haven't made up my mind yet," he said.

Ranson started playing guitar when he was 12 or 13.

"I started writing music right away, even before I got good at playing chords," he said.

To order Ranson's CD, visit He is selling his CDs for $7 through Tin Ceiling, an antique store that is part the Hubbard County Developmental Achievement Center. Proceeds from online sales of his CD will benefit Tin Ceiling.