Ben Regier first got interested in playing music when he was five years old, and saw his cousin give a performance on the piano. Immediately, he started piano lessons, but found himself in constant conflict with his teacher over how the pieces were supposed to be played. After four years, his mother finally agreed to let him quit. A few years after that, when Ben was 13, he found an old hammer dulcimer in his mothers closet, got it out, and started to play around on it.
When he was still hammering away hours later, his mother asked if he would like to learn to play it. He said he would, on two conditions. 1) She would never make him practice if he didn't want to, and 2) She would never make him take lessons. She never did, so he kept playing.
Ben has been mostly self taught, listening to instructional tapes for the first year, and then graduating to teaching himself after that, picking up a variety of other instruments on the way. He began arranging songs for the dulcimer a few months after he started playing, and, about a year after that, he began to compose his own music. He performed regularly in local venues, and traveled out of state for the occasional music festival. In September 2001, Ben Regier won first place in the National Hammer Dulcimer Championships at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas, beating out competitors from across the country.
Cricket in the Kitchen is Ben's second album, largely written around a year-long stay in West Virginia, where Ben did voluntary service and played music with anyone he could find. The songs include original compositions, as well as some arrangements of traditional bluegrass and Celtic songs, and a few hymns. Though most of the music is centered around the dulcimer, the album also features music on the mandolin, guitar, and banjo (also played by Ben).