Saturday 10 March 2012

Review: Paul Benoit

Paul Benoit – Ragpickers (Zebadiah Records)
20 years and 16 albums into a career that shows no sign of slowing down, Paul Benoit remains a songwriter worth tracking down. “Ragpickers”, his sixth solo album, continues his journey into pure contemporary Americana, which to my ears is the merging of unpolished country, blues and folk song, with a little rock n’ roll edge. On “Ragpickers” he undoubtedly succeeds, singing his songs over big rootsy arrangements that could have been sourced from any one of the major music capitals of the USA. And as for his songs, for now let’s just say the man’s got a way with words.

First track “Bloom” is just magnificent. Over a hearty acoustic strum, Benoit opines “I’m just a cup, please fill me up. It won’t take much, strong is your stuff” – just perfect, and it gets better as it goes on. “Don’t Hate Me” is beautifully languid, slowly but surely jettisoning its words. The title track, part New Orleans funeral march, part Dylan-esque address makes it three out of three. On “Black Bag Blues” you get to hear what a great guitarist he is and “Kickin In” possesses a nice ‘70s vibe, not unlike Free without the bombast. Bob Harris should be all over Paul Benoit and “Ragpickers” like a rash. I might just start the campaign.
Rob F.

Paul Benoit: Ragpickers

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