Tab Benoit

Tab Benoit

Whiskey Bayou Records Review feat Eric Johanson & Jeff McCarty, Jimmy Leslie Band

Monday, November 5, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

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This event is all ages

Tab Benoit
Tab Benoit
Tab Benoit is a Cajun man who's definitely got the blues. Born November 17, 1967, he grew up in Houma, Louisiana. A guitar player since his teenage years, he hung out at the Blues Box, a ramshackle music club and cultural center in nearby Baton Rouge run by guitarist Tabby Thomas. Playing guitar alongside Thomas, Raful Neal, Henry Gray and other high-profile regulars at the club, Benoit learned the blues first-hand from a faculty of living blues legends.

The nightly impromptu gigs were enough to inspire Benoit to assemble his own band – a stripped down bass-and-drums unit propelled by his solid guitar skills and leathery, Cajun-spiced vocal attack. He took his show on the road in the early '90s and hasn't stopped since.

Benoit landed a recording contract with the tiny, Texas-based Justice Records and released a series of well-received recordings, beginning in 1992 with Nice and Warm, an album that prompted comparisons to blues guitar heavyweights like Albert King, Albert Collins and even Jimi Hendrix. Despite the hype, Benoit has done his best over the years to maintain a commitment to his Cajun roots – a goal that often eluded him when past producers and promoters tried to turn him and his recordings in a rock direction, often against his better instincts. These Blues Are All Mine, released on Vanguard in 1999 after Justice folded, marked a return to the rootsy sound that he'd been steered away from for several years.

That same year, he appeared on Homesick for the Road, a collaborative album on Telarc International, a division of Concord Music Group, with fellow guitarists Kenny Neal and Debbie Davies. Homesick not only served as a showcase for three relatively young but clearly rising stars in the blues constellation, but also launched Benoit's relationship with Telarc that came to fruition in 2002 with the release of Wetlands – arguably the most authentically Cajun installment in his entire ten-year discography.

Later in 2002, Benoit released Whiskey Store, a collaborative recording with fellow axemaster and Telarc labelmate Jimmy Thackery. Also along for the ride on Whiskey Store are harpist Charlie Musselwhite and Double Trouble – the two-man rhythm section of bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton that backed Stevie Ray Vaughn on his brief but luminous blues career.

After a prolific first year with Telarc, Benoit continued to explore the bayou backbeat in 2003 with the June release of Sea Saint Sessions, a collection of gritty, Cajun-flavored tracks recorded at Big Easy Recording Studio (better known among musicians in the region as Sea Saint Studio) in New Orleans. In addition to Benoit and his regular crew – bassist Carl Dufrene and drummer Darryl White – Sea Saint Sessions includes numerous guest appearances by Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Cyril Neville, Brian Stoltz and George Porter.

That same year, Benoit and Thackery took their dueling guitar show on the road and recorded a performance at the Unity Centre for Performing Arts in Unity, Maine. The result is Whiskey Store Live, a high-energy guitar fest released in February 2004.

Benoit returned in 2005 with Fever for the Bayou, a straight up Louisiana blues recording that seamlessly merges his own songcraft with that of Elmore James, Buddy Guy and other masters. Fever for the Bayou also includes guest appearances by Cyril Neville (vocals and percussion) and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux (vocals).

Benoit dug further into his roots in 2006 with the release of Brother to the Blues, a recording that encompasses not only his trademark Cajun blues but also traditional country and vintage R&B. Joining him on the project are members of the cult blues/R&B/rock combo Louisiaina LeRoux, veteran country songwriter Billy Joe Shaver, Americana pioneer Jim Lauderdale and Cajun fiddler Waylon Thibodeaux. Brother to the Blues received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Traditional Blues Album.

Benoit's Power of the Pontchartrain, released in June 2007, is in many ways a musical tribute to the natural beauty of his homeland and the dedication and perseverance of those who still live there.

An environmental activist as well as a stellar blues musician, Benoit has made the preservation of the endangered delta wetlands his personal crusade. He serves as president of Voice of the Wetlands, an environmental organization he co-founded in 2003, and he appeared prominently in Hurricane on the Bayou, a 2006 documentary by filmmaker McGillivray Freeman that chronicles life in Louisiana after Katrina. Hurricane on the Bayou played in iMax theaters in the U.S., Canada and Europe throughout 2007.

In 2007, Benoit won the dual awards of B.B. King Entertainer of the Year and Best Contemporary Male Performer at the Blues Music Awards (formerly the W.C. Handy Awards) in Memphis.

Benoit's 2008 release, Night Train to Nashville, was recorded at The Place On Second Street in Nashville in May 2007. The set captures the magic and intensity of Benoit in a live setting, joined by his faithful backup unit and New Orleans mainstay, Louisiana's LeRoux, and a series of guests representing some of the most talented voices on the current blues, Cajun and country scenes: harpist/vocalist Jimmy Hall (Wet Willie), guitarist/vocalist Jim Lauderdale, harpist/accordionist Johnny Sansone, fiddler/washboard player Waylon Thibodeaux and harpist/vocalist and Fabulous Thunderbirds frontman Kim Wilson.

In 2010, Benoit received the Governor's Award for Conservationist of the Year for 2009 from the Louisiana Wildlife Federation.

Medicine, Benoit's latest release on Telarc, successfully joins two gifted guitarists/songwriters in a session that proves greater than the sum of its very talented parts. Set for April 2011, the 11-track recording features sevennew Benoit originals co-written with ace songwriter Anders Osborne. Engineered by David Z, Medicine spotlights the work of keyboardist Ivan Neville, drummer Brady Blade and bassist Corey Duplechin. Fiddler/singer Michael Doucet of BeauSoleil makes a special appearance on three tracks.
Whiskey Bayou Records Review feat Eric Johanson & Jeff McCarty
Eric Johanson and Jeff McCarty both released CDs on Tab Benoit's Whiskey Bayou Records Revue in 2017.

Jeff McCarty is a southern soul singer whose Louisiana musical roots run deep into the soulful Blues Rock genre.

Eric Johanson has played guitar for Cyril Neville and Terrence Simeon. He's learned first hand from those two musical legends about rhythm through the many unique styles of Louisiana music.
In August WBR releaed Jeff McCarty's Step Out. Jeff hit the road playing local and short tours with Josh Garrett the Midwest. On October 13, 2017 WBR released Eric Johanson's, Burn It Down, which Eric followed up by supporting a string of Tab Benoit dates through the Midwest and East-Coast.

Whiskey Bayou Records is proud to present these two soulfully unique breakout Artists.

Jeff and Eric will come out and do a 40 minute set with Tab sitting in on drums....Then Tab will perform a full 90 minute set with them coning out revue style.
Jimmy Leslie Band
Jimmy Leslie Band
“Jimmy Leslie drops a funk and pop mix that’s all his own.”—Pacific Sun
Jimmy Leslie is somewhat of a musical renaissance man on the San Francisco Bay Area scene. He’s a freak “freehand” guitarist with a funky roots rock style, a soaring soulful singer, and a bona fide multi-faceted writer. Leslie’s groovy songs flow like water, as do the features he pens each month for Guitar Player and Bass Player. Leslie is a Guitar Player Records artist, and he coordinates GP & BP Presents event promotions for the venerable musician magazines as well. Leslie also authored a popular musical marine epic—Guitarfish Adventures Vol. 1:Blue Is the New Green (with forward by Bootsy Collins)—and co-founded the Guitarfish Musical Festival. Leslie’s musical credits include A Spirit Hustler, Shana Morrison (Van’s Girl), Honey Island Swamp Band, Guitarmageddon, LunaGroove, Allmond Brothers Clan, and Stung. He’s played the O2 Arena, the High Sierra Music Festival, Sea of Dreams, Xingolati, and Burning Man. He’s interviewed everyone from Allman Brothers Band to P-Funk, and jammed with the likes of Luther Dickinson and Papa Mali. You never know who may drop in on a Jimmy Leslie & The Flow show, or where he may pop up for a guest spot. The 2014 Flow is bassist Mike Sugar (Jambay), drummer Jeremy Hoenig (Smokedaddies), and guitarist/singer Pamela Parker (Katdelic).
Guitar Player
It’s fitting that Jimmy Lesile is the first artist to release music through Guitar Player’s new label imprint because Leslie has a decade-long relationship with the most respected player’s magazine on the planet. Leslie is a fixture as a freelance writer for GP and coordinator of monthly GP Presents events around the San Francisco Bay Area, but it was his fleet fretwork that caught GP’s attention in the first place. Leslie has a signature “freehand” guitar style that incorporates flamenco-like flourishes, slapping & plucking, and inventive faux-slide leads. His tenor voice is equally unique, surprisingly versatile, and central to his distinct roots rock sound.
“Vocals are paramount to most of my material,” says Leslie, “but the music is entirely guitar-based with an emphasis on GROOVE.”
Dance Until Forever
Dance Until Forever is the long-awaited follow up to Leslie’s 2007 solo debut, Surfin’ the Swamp. [Leslie was sidelined with a debilitating repetitive stress injury for much of the time in-between.] Like its predecessor, it was recorded in New Orleans with a choice local rhythm section.
“I chose to record with Garland Paul and Sam Price because we discovered a natural chemistry post-Katrina during the formative period of the Honey Island Swamp Band, and developed it as a trio gigging around the Bay Area until Garland and Sam eventually rejoined the rest of Honey Island in New Orleans,” Leslie explains.
The single “VooDoo Doll” featuring Eric McFadden (P-Funk, Stockholm Syndrome) was actually recorded later in San Francisco. Mixed by GP honcho Michael Molenda, it was added last, and appears first on the digital version of the album.
“Save Us!” features emotive vocals and deep lyrics that consider the myriad natural and man-made disasters that plague our planet. The closing title track deals with similar subject material in acoustic fashion and with a more optimistic perspective.
There’s tons of fun on the R&B tinged “Smile On,” the sexy strut of “Soulful & Strange,” and the Mardi Gras rock & roll hybrid, “Shake!” Keyboards courtesy of Garaj Mahal’s Eric Levy, and horns courtesy of Ryan Scott (Monophonics, Vinyl) and Alan Williams (Katdelic) flesh out the grooviest guitar release you’re likely to hear for years.
Venue Information:
Sweetwater Music Hall
19 Corte Madera Ave.
Mill Valley, CA, 94941