Forgotten series: Tab Benoit – Wetlands (2002)

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By S. Victor Aaron

Ten years before Wetlands, a young Cajun kid from Baton Rouge walked into a Houston studio and produced some of the most refreshingly honest rock-tinged swamp blues ever heard.

Yet, one worried that Benoit would go the way of may bluesmen who’ve tasted success and eventually dilute the pure sound of 1992’s Nice And Warm until he becomes just another rock axe grinder miscast as a bloozer.

We needn’t have.

Six albums later, Tab’s sound was even more basic and grittier than where he started; every one of the thirteen tracks on Wetlands was played as if he was in a bar trying to earn his supper, and the electricity of a nightclub setting comes through on a session obviously recorded live in the studio.

Benoit’s voice — always fine, despite critics’ assertions that he “over-emoted” — had by 2002 developed a bit of a gruff sound and the confidence of a guy who is dead certain of how to phrase the lyrics.

And his guitar work had gotten leaner, as he rationed the wailing for maximal effect.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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