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Power of the Pontchartrain

Tab Benoit

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Album Review

Louisiana journeyman swamp rocker Tab Benoit has been churning out an album a year since at least 2002, and between them he stays on the road playing every festival, club, and bar that'll have him. It would seem inevitable that the quality of these studio recordings would decline. But, at least as of 2007's Power of the Pontchartrain, that isn't the case. If anything, this might be the best of a very good lot, as Benoit again teams with Louisiana's Le Roux group (who once backed legend Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and helped on Benoit's previous release) for another 52-minute wade through muggy yet taut bayou blues. Part of the reason Benoit's recent albums are so strong is that he doesn't insist on playing original material, instead cherry-picking nuggets rearranged to suit his approach. This works particularly well here since he unearths terrific, often obscure material from writers such as Julie Miller (two tracks), David Egan (two others), and even Stephen Stills (a not entirely necessary "For What It's Worth"). Everything gets run through his deep Southern groove, ultimately sounding like Tab Benoit songs, or at least tunes written with him in mind. Benoit abandons the country twang he successfully experimented with on 2006's Brother to the Blues, digging deeper into straight blues (Lonnie Johnson's "Somebody's Got to Go"), Cajun ("Sac-au-Lait Fishing," Benoit's only original here), and the deep soul ballads ("I'm Guilty of Lovin' You") he has typically included on every album. His whiskey- soaked vocals bring warmth and passion to the songs and when he lets loose on that beat-up Telecaster on the title track, the Buffalo Springfield tune, and "Addicted," he shows another side of his talents. The band stays in the pocket throughout, freeing Benoit to concentrate on singing and playing, with the result that Power of the Pontchartrain is not just another strong entry in Tab Benoit's increasingly thick catalog, but also one of his most defining albums.

Customer Reviews

If you don't know him yet, you should

What can I say, this guy has not put out anything less than suprilative. I have virtually his whole catalog, and I wouldn't trade one in for the price of many new CDs. If you just strayed here, you might want to catch his live disc, Swampland Jam, first to get a sense of how authentic his studio albums are. No smoke and mirrors here. Another great disc is Fever for the Bayou. And then this one. It's blues with heart, sting, funk, and FUN. Tab, come play central Virginia sometime, buddy!

Power Player

Tab Benoit is one of Louisiana's favorite sons and also a very respected music artist. He pours his heart and soul into all his songs and performances. He is also an advocate for saving Louisiana's wetlands so between this and performing he has a very busy schedule. You can see him in the IMAX movie Hurricane on the Bayou. I believe this could be his best work yet and that is saying a lot since all his music is great.

The influence of Tab...

I was 17 when I saw this amazing guy and now I'm 32. I remember my Dad putting on the Nice and Warm album on and I fell in love with it. Anyway, I was living in the panhandle of Texas and he was passing through Amarillo. My old man and I drove an hour and a half to a bar called The Roadhouse. Keep in mind I was 17 the drinking age was 21 and it was a school night. They had a buger and blues special on during the week. The show came on and damn was I in awe. My first show ever and I'm drinking a beer what better time could a kid have. Tab was playing his butt off and there was a moment when he walked up to the bar and ordered a beer while he was playing a song. He ordered a Budweiser and downed it. He started playing slide with his beer bottle and I knew from that moment on he was somebody to be reckoned with. On the drive home I was forever changed with these new experiences and memories. I have seen him over the years and have always been able to say a few words of thanks. If I could only see him more often... He's that good... Thank you Tab Benoit for your music especially in those nights when I need the blues and it takes me back to another time. By the way another classic album. Thanks Dad...


Born: November 17, 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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