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Monday, 11 August 2014 12:40

Charting the Music: Benjamin Booker, 'Benjamin Booker'

Charting the Music: Benjamin Booker, 'Benjamin Booker' Max Norton
Written by Emily Deason
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With smoky vocals, lyrics soaked with emotion and powerful rock 'n' roll energy, Benjamin Booker's self-titled debut album might leave you asking, "Ben, where have you been all my life?"

Booker proves he has the blues in his debut album, but he gathers up that classic soul-and-blues sound and infuses it with his own touches of indie and punk, making for a novel and dynamic music experience.

88.1 KDHX chart position: #2 Americana, #8 Adult Album Alternative and #6 CMJ Top 30 for the week of August 5, 2014

Record label, release date and producer: "Benjamin Booker", produced by Andrija Tokic, will be released by ATO Records on August 19, 2014.

Can be heard on: "Gold Soundz" with Chris Bay, "The Space Parlour" with Nick Acquisto, and "The Record Sto'" with Doug Morgan.

RIYL: The Alabama Shakes, Gary Clark Jr., Blind Willie Johnson

Hometown: New Orleans

Standout Tracks: "Have You Seen My Son?" and "Violent Shiver," the pre-released singles on the album, collectively embody the feel of the whole album. "Slow Coming," dripping with soul and emotion, is sure to give listeners goosebumps, reminding everyone that hears it how powerful one song can be. "Slow Burning" is directly followed by the hip-twisting, toe-tapping, head-banging "Wicked Waters."

Recently in the News: Benjamin has been making the rounds on the music festival circuit, performing at the Newport Folk Festival on July 26, and Lollapalooza on August 2, 2014. He is also the opening act for Jack White's 2014 summer tour.

What the critics say: ""You could take new Rough Trade charge Benjamin Booker as an open book: bourbon-drenched vocals, thrift-store chic and a New Orleans base on the banks of the Mississippi. His 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', which sees Booker take his vocal cues straight from Bobbie Gentry's late-'60s peak" (Matt Wilkinson, NME).

Play it while: Half of the album can be played when craving some hip shaking and hair whipping, while the other half can be played when you want to remember how to feel something (Yeah, referring to "Slow Coming" and "By The Evening").

The label: ATO Records was founded in 2000 by Dave Matthews and Manager Coran Capshaw. The label boasts an impressive roster, which includes My Morning Jacket, the Alabama Shakes, Hurray for the Riff Raff and Old Crow Medicine Show.

KDHX Coverage: Amy Burger reviewed Booker's opening set for Jack White in St. Louis on July 20, 2014.

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