VOICES Notes and news on Contemporary Jazz releases
29 APR 11 JONATHAN WIDRAN
Celebrated, Grammy-nominated bluesman Tab Benoit celebrates a decade on Telarc with Medicine, a coolly rockin' 11-track musical cure for any aches and pains -- naturally including, by design, heartache and heartbreak -- that may be ailing his legion of fans.
Benoit has a long, exhilarating history collaborating and recording with an amazing array of like-minded singers and musicians, including Kenny Neal, Debbie Davies, Jimmy Thackery, Cyril Neville, Billy Joe Shaver, Jim Lauderdale and Waylon Thibodeaux. On Medicine, he vibes magnificently with his old friend, versatile songwriter Anders Osborne, renowned for his #1 country hit "Watch The Wind Blow By" (Tim McGraw) and several songs on Keb' Mo's Grammy-winning Slow Down. The two found inspiration for many of these songs on a creatively fruitful visit to the bayou. Osborne played most of the rhythm parts on the album and co-produced.
In 2007, Benoit won two honors at the Blues Music Awards (formerly the W.C. Handy Awards) in Memphis, including B.B. King Entertainer of the Year. How to top that connection to the legendary "Blues Boy?" By having Osborne use King's iconic guitar "Lucille" on half the album (all parts that are not slide guitar).
He and Osborne play with an explosive young band featuring keyboardist Ivan Neville, drummer Brady Blade (Dave Matthews) and bassist Corey Duplechin. Adding down home authenticity to the project is the fact that it was recorded at Louisiana's legendary Dockside Studio, located on a 12-acre estate in the heart of Cajun country on the banks of the Vermilion Bayou. The environment means a lot to Benoit -- in more ways than one. In 2010, he received the Governor's Award for Conservationist of the Year for 2009 from the Louisiana Wildlife Federation.