VOICES Notes and news on Contemporary Jazz releases
03 MAY 12 JONATHAN WIDRAN
When it came time to choose the playlist for the long overdue "greatest hits" set Legacy: The Best of Tab Benoit, it must have been quite a task for singer-songwriter and blues guitar great Benoit to distill nearly a decade and a half of hard hitting work down to 14 representative tracks.
Though his extraordinary run with Telarc began with Homesick For The Road -- a 1999 guitar trio date featuring Kenny Neal and Debbie Davis -- Benoit formed his first trio and began playing clubs in New Orleans and his hometown of Baton Rouge in the late-'80s. Truly living up to liner notes writer John Swenson's designation that "Benoit is a true Louisiana resource, the product of a life steeped in music -- blues, country, Cajun, rock and soul," the multi-talented artist lives and breathes the triumphs, tragedies and indomitable spirit of his beloved home state. His commitment to protecting the precarious landscape of his home state via his environmental advocacy work with Voice of the Wetlands predates the devastating aftermath of Katrina.
The collection includes a brooding cover of "For What It's Worth" from Power Of The Ponchartrain (2007); "Night Train" and "The Blues Is Here To Stay" from Fever For The Bayou (2005); "Muddy Bottom Blues" from Wetlands (2002); the country-flavored "Comin' On Strong" from Brother To The Blues (2006), a Grammy nominee for Best Traditional Blues Album; and "Shelter Me," the theme song for the Discovery Channel series Sons Of Guns. Benoit's most recent studio release Medicine (2011) is represented by its slow simmering title track. Benoit is featured in the IMAX film Hurricane On The Bayou and in May of 2010, he was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.