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Brother to the Blues

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Album Review

Tab Benoit has been doing his brand of bayou-fed blues-rock for some time now, and while it is tempting to call Brother to the Blues a departure, it is really only a subtle one, straying as it does to the country side of things, but again, only a little bit, and there is probably little-to-no-chance that Benoit will turn into a hat act with a big belt buckle anytime soon. True, he covers Hank Williams here ("I Heard That Lonesome Whistle," with some vocal help from Jim Lauderdale), a touchstone for country if ever there was one, but he also pulls off a passable version of Sam Cooke's soulful "Bring It on Home to Me," takes a North Mississippi country blues approach on "Moon Coming Over the Hill" (featuring some cool Cajun fiddle from Waylon Thibodeaux), and ratchets into familiar swamp rock territory with the hard-charging opener "Pack It Up," and the impressive, wry "Why Are People Like That?," before tying everything together with the set ender, "Can't Do One More Two-Step," which somehow manages to be swampy, rocky, country, and bayou blues all in one package, as well as giving Benoit plenty of room to trade guitar runs with Thibodeaux's fiddle slides. But there is a little bit of a change going on here — if you listen closely you can hear string band-style banjo on several tracks — and one wonders what Benoit has in mind for his next step down the road. There are a thousand ways to the river, as they say, but in the bayou the river is everywhere at once. There's a little bit of that feel here.


Born: 17 November 1967 in Baton Rouge, LA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Tab Benoit makes his home near New Orleans in Houma, Louisiana. Born November 17, 1967, he's one of a handful of bright rising stars on the modern blues scene. For most of the 1990s and into the 2000s, he's worked each of his records the old-fashioned way, by playing anywhere and everywhere he and his band can play. Unlike so many others before him, Benoit understands that blues is not a medium in favor with 50,000-watt commercial rock radio stations, so as a consequence,...
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Brother to the Blues, Tab Benoit
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