Tab Benoit is one of those guys whose recordings get into my head, and I can’t get them out. It started in the early ’90s with a wonderful song called “Nice and Warm.” He has a unique feel and sound for a bluesman in this day and age. Maybe it’s because he grew up in Louisiana, but the feel of his records mix a little of everything together to form a roots-music gumbo that feels great(alright, it’s a cliché, but one I had to use given the circumstances).
His latest, The Sea Saint Sessions is a fine piece of work. Nothing fancy. In fact, one of the things I’ve always liked about him is the rawness in his music. His vocals are gruff and soulful, and that same description could match his guitar playing. He’s a Fender guy, usually seen with a Tele, and he draws great sounds. Check him out trading solos with Brian Stoltz on “Hustlin’ Down in New Orleans.” It’s a perfect primer to his playing. Same with “Baby Blue,” which is one of those blues tunes that has a hook big enough to drive a truck through. “Solid Simple Thing” is the kind of New Orleans boogie you’d expect from a Cajun boy. “What I Have To Do” is a rollicking soul tune with killer lead and rhythm guitar. “Making the Bend” is pure-gold rocker with a crisp solo from Tab and nice bass work from former Meter George Porter.
In all, this one’s a keeper. There are a million blues guitarists out there today, but Tab’s unique.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Oct. ’03 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.