Richard Bennett works with a jazzman’s precision and taste, a swing player’s cool, and a rockabilly’s sense of urgency and fun. As a songwriter of guitar-centric instrumentals, his songs are visually as well as emotionally evocative, flowing out of your speakers in Technicolor.
The lonesome trumpet of “That Girl Was Northern,” followed by luscious electric then acoustic lines, seem to come from a less-cynical, more-romantic time – the days when hi-fidelity was the industry standard and the jukebox, dashboard radio, and home-stereo turntables made records sound their best; after all, Bennett does call his label “Moderne Shellac.”
He is adept at almost anything with strings. His steel guitar on “Segue To Sundown” shows why he’s in demand at Nashville sessions, even in a town full of great steel players. But listening to him play the six-string guitar – especially on a song like “A Lovely Day To Cry” or his brilliant Latin-inflected “Tresero” – is to hear scope and possibilities of that wonderful instrument that captivates us all.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s October ’15 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.