Posts Tagged ‘Benjamin Booker’

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New Orleans newcomer Benjamin Booker’s debut lives and breathes the Deep South, from the Chuck Berry references (most effective on opener ‘Violent Shiver’) to the slower, more hushed tones of ‘I Thought I Heard You Screaming’, 

Benjamin Booker makes music that sounds like someone threw a match into a box of fireworks: bright, furious, explosive garage rock that’s liable to set a house on fire. Fighting out of New Orleans, the 24 year-old has already played Letterman and Conan and been tapped to open for Jack White on his latest string of dates all absent a debut album, which finally was released on August 19th via ATO Records. Roiling with bloozy guitar licks, soaring Hammond organs, and Booker’s moonstruck vocals — dude’s a howler, yet his scuffed up croon is equally compelling on smoky ballad “Slow Coming” — the self-titled release may end up a contender for rock record of the year. Crank “Violent Shiver” at your next house party. It’ll liven the place up, if not burn it down altogether.

News: Benjamin Booker signs to ATO, releases a track, plays Letterman

 

 

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The title track from Benjamin Booker new album Witness is a clarion call. “Right now we could use a little pick-me-up / Seems like the whole damn nation’s trying to take us down,” he sings. “They say you’re dangerous, cancerous, not to trust / Now everybody that’s brown can get the fuck on the ground.”

It’s a not-at-all-veiled analysis of the state of our union, both sensitive and outraged. Booker’s raspy voice is filled with hope but tinged with resignation, and it’s lifted out of the darkness by the legendary bellow of Mavis Staples , who duets on the track.

It would’ve been hard to imagine hearing a song quite like “Witness” from Booker in 2014, when his eponymous debut first thrust him into the public eye. Back then he was just making a name for himself as a gravelly voiced blues practitioner with a penchant for gritty punk. “Slow Coming,” from Benjamin Booker, expressed his general fatigue and frustration with modern society, proving that he had the chops for politically charged songwriting, though it might have lacked the sense of urgency needed to translate it into action.

“What I felt was the temporary peace that can come from looking away.”

But for both Booker and the United States, 2014 seems like eons ago:catalysts that brought larger social issues to the forefront of Booker’s mind. with spectacles of injustice in his life: “Am I going to be a witness?” Booker asks. “And in today’s world, is that enough?”

The album’s title track was written in a matter of minutes and was largely inspired by a trip to Mexico City in March of 2016. Feeling overwhelmed and uninspired by the state of the nation, he did what many people wished they could have done this last year—he left the US, flocking like a monarch butterfly to what he thought would be a more inviting climate. In a statement, Booker wrote, “I was almost entirely cut off from my home. Free from the news. Free from politics. Free from friends. What I felt was the temporary peace that can come from looking away.”

It wasn’t until he got caught in a physical altercation outside a bar in Condesa that he realized the discrimination and chaos he was running from had followed him. “It was just one of those moments where you realize, ‘I gotta take care of my house, my home, where I live,’” he says. “You know what I mean? The same thing is happening everywhere.”

Not that the last three years haven’t given him plenty of means for escape. Booker went from making $800 a month working for AmeriCorps to playing and wowing on the Letterman Show in a matter of months after the release of his album. “I didn’t start playing music until right before all of that happened,” he says. “So I didn’t even know how to set up my guitar amp.”

With one world tour under his belt, the former aspiring music journalist is more self-assured than ever. “It was pretty difficult at the beginning,” he says. “But I think that like any job, over time it becomes a lot easier, and maybe halfway into [the touring cycle] it started to feel comfortable.”

In an effort to avoid complacency—or worse, be pigeonholed like many a musician of color before him—Booker sought to expand his musical repertoire for Witness. “[I was] trying to break away from the things that I started with on the first record,” he says. “My taste from the last album has completely changed. I think I was very much into blues music and garage rock…[but] I’ve moved away to ’70s Afro-psych music. [Bands like] Sly and the Family Stone [were] a huge influence. I’m listening to more hip-hop, and I’m more interested in rhythm and how the other instruments work in and out of that. I’m allowing for more space this time.”

With the help of producer Sam Cohen , Booker was able to make Witness into a taut, polished product that’s more of a distant cousin to his reckless debut than a direct predecessor. “Going into this album, I just wanted to take the songs as far as they could go,” he says. “And I think that getting there, and working with new musicians and a new producer and everything, I really had to put my ego aside.”

The maturation that Booker underwent as a musician and as a person prepared him for the task of putting out an album like Witness, which he says is “about the things that I’d never wanted to talk about.” Perhaps that’s what it means to be a witness in 2017: to stare unflinchingly at that which terrifies us most and confront it head on, and to recognize all the flaws in the world around us and within ourselves. Sometimes all it takes is a voice like Booker’s to speak that unpleasant truth.

It’s that quote that Benjamin Booker cites in the piece about how his new album, Witness (out June 2 on ATO Records). After the acclaim surrounding Booker’s self-titled 2014 debut ebbed, he left the country for Mexico, seeking songwriting inspiration rather than a refuge from discrimination — or so he told himself. But after experiencing racialized violence in Mexico City — and looking on from abroad as reports of police shootings and Black Lives Matter protests peppered the news — Booker realized he was fleeing, not sight-seeing, and underwent a Baldwinesque crisis. Could he in good conscience stay away from the civilization that might very well need his voice?

“Spoon Out My Eyeballs” is taken from Benjamin Booker’s debut, self-titled album out now on Rough Trade Records,

Benjamin Booker has become one of our favourite artists of last year after a couple of awesome live shows I saw especially at the Bodega in Nottingham, his latest release from his amazing self-titled debut LP ‘Spoon Out My Eyeballs’ is a compelling listen.

Add this compulsion to Booker’s incredible live performances and you have yourself a winner. Add to that the fact it’s a Rough Trade Session .Booker’s visceral performance is no better showcased (other than seeing the man himself live) than in this video where his veracity and ability are heaped out in equal measure. This is just another reason to love Benjamin Booker.

Benjamin Booker performed “Violent Shiver” from his debut album on the Jools Holland Show last night the three piece band stormed through the song

Benjamin Booker and his exciting band, live at the 100 club in London on his early tour of the UK last February. One of the best tracks on his debut album with fuzzed out guitars the 24 year old comes from New Orleans

 

making his TV debut on the Letterman Show the powerhouse band of Benjamin Booker, from New Orleans Benjamin and his band play flat out Rock N Blues, check out his session on Spotify. Ps Watch The Drummer….

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Benjamin Booker guitarist with his band from New Orleans plays the Bodega Social tonight in Nottingham and I’m sure we shall be in for a blistering gig of Rock and Blues, Been slightly obsessed with this band Since seeing him at End Of the Road Festival and beforehand on the Letterman Show , The self titled debut album has been out a few weeks I’ve been looking forward to seeing him in a small venue the three piece band kicks out some great rock’n’roll .

 

Live in the studio at KEXP recorded on the August 14th 2014 songs are “Have You Seen My Son”,Wicked Waters”, “Happy Homes” and “Violent Shiver” guitar driven rock with bluesy overtones. Benjamin Booker and his band will be at the Bodega Social in Nottingham on the 11th September.

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A singer songwriter guitarist based in New Orleans is just about to explode on the music scene with his scorching guitar playing and raw soulful vocals, with Gun Club, T Rex and Blind Willie Johnson as influences, He has just toured with Jack White and Courtney Barnett his debut album recorded in Nashville’s Bomb Studios, his first single was “Violent Shiver”  check him out on http://www.benjaminbookermusic.com He has put a date in at the Bodega Social  Thursday 11th September

 

A fiery singer songwriter and guitar player from New Orleans with a debut album due in August and a support slot with Jack White on tour things look good for this young man