Highway 90 has served Tab Benoit well. The 38-year-old Houma native is Louisiana to the core, a diehard sportsman who's lived on the bayou his whole life and uses his fishing camp as his primary songwriting spot. And he's a spirited musical traveler as well, frequently heading east to the Crescent City to jam with heavyweights like bassist George Porter Jr. and motoring west to find inspiration in swamp-pop anthems like Lil' Bob & the Lollipops' "I Got Loaded." Since his 1992 debut album Nice and Warm (which sparked a number of flattering but misguided comparisons to Stevie Ray Vaughan), Benoit's steadily toned down his early blues-rock leanings and become a musical sponge for indigenous Louisiana rhythms. He's incorporated chugging zydeco licks into his percussive staccato guitar lines and gotten progressively funkier in recent years, collaborating with Cyril Neville on the recent Voices of the Wetlands CD.
Benoit's new CD, Brother to the Blues, is a tip of the hat to country music's role in Louisiana music history. Joined by fiddler Waylon Thibodeaux, alt-country singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale and legendary Texas renegade Billy Joe Shaver, Benoit evokes memories of the Louisiana Hayride radio show by putting his stamp on Hank Williams' prison lament "I Heard that Lonesome Whistle Blow," Lauderdale's "I'm On Your Side" pledge and the last-call pathos of the title track. It's all tied together by Benoit's bayou syncopation, best exemplified in the swampy groove of "Moon Comin' Over the Hill" and the dance hall tribute "Can't Do One More Two Step." With Brother to the Blues, Benoit offers a soulful reminder that blues, country, funk and R&B are close musical siblings in Louisiana.
Tab Benoit's Brother to the Blues (Telarc Records) is available locally at Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Circuit City or online at www.tabbenoit.com.
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OCT 30 If you're a Louisiana native of (ahem) a certain age, you might have fond (or fuzzy, as the case may be) memories of a Zebra concert and singing "Who's Behind the Door" until your ears rang. This post on NOLA Defender profiles the leader of that band, Randy Jackson.
OCT 30 The National Journal offers this analysis of Bobby Jindal's willingness to stump in any Senate campaign that's not in Louisiana. Why is that? The Journal asks some GOPers and finds that the answer is one we already know: he's so unpopular here, because he's been so busy running for President, that his support might be "toxic."
OCT 30 If you're not obsessed with the Texas governor's race - what's wrong with you? Here's another installment, from our own IND contributor Lamar White Jr., who explains why Wendy's "infamous" wheelchair ad was a shock to the national media - but not to anyone familiar with Greg Abbott's record.
OCT 30 Blogger Tom Aswell is still all over the OGB mess - and all by himself, apparently. In this post, he's revealing orders from the Jindal administration to destroy records from the state employee health insurance plan. Those orders (he's heard) have angered the Secretary of State and caused an administration lawyer to quit her job. Wow!
OCT 30 Blogger Crazy Crawfish is taking aim at state Superintendent John White again, this time for comments White made recently, claiming that there is no real opposition to Common Core in Louisiana. Crawfish is documenting proof to the contrary here, and lays down the gauntlet to "mainstream news media." (Don't hold your breath on that one, buddy.)
OCT 30 Gambit covers Advocate publisher John Georges' recent visit to Loyola in this post. Georges touches on how things are going in this new gig, what he thinks about the Pic's decision to move printing to Alabama, and how he feels about his political campaigns.
OCT 30 A NOLA lady has alleged she was drugged and raped at a Bywater club that had a clothing-optional policy until recently, and she's now become the victim of a smear campaign, columnist Jarvis DeBerry writes in this post. She chose to reveal her story and her name, and she's being punished for that now, he says.
OCT 30 BESE member Lottie Beebe pens this letter to the editor of the Advocate about the state Department of Education. The DOE isn't exempt from the state public records law, and because of recent lawsuits she tried to require regular reports about how many requests had been made to the department and how many remained unanswered. She wasn't successful.
OCT 29 Manny Schewitz blogs on Forward Progressives about recent Facebook posts from David Vitter, including one that purports to take you to a petition to stop Ebola (say what?) but actually signs you up for his newsletter or campaign email list or some such nonsense. Dave must think we're dummies, Manny says -- and Dave's probably right.
OCT 29 Usually, the copy on Red Shtick is satire. But in this post "from the publisher," we get a pretty astute political analysis of Edwin Edwards' charisma and old-school populist swagger. Edwards isn't concealing billionaire backers, or trying to make his opponent out to be "Satan," the post says. He's just running. Huh; imagine that.
OCT 29 Salon's Elias Isquith writes this fairly hilarious commentary on a National Review post about Bobby Jindal's attempts to "beef up" in preparation for a presidential run. But it's not just funny; Isquith seems to have Bobby's number, commenting on how the Gov "and his team are hopelessly ensconced in the Tea Party bubble."
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