Something Else! sneak peek: Benmont Tench, “Blonde Girl, Blue Dress” (2014)

It’s perhaps unsurprising that nobody recognizes Benmont Tench, for too long the faceless soul of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers. After all, singers and guitar players are typically the focal points.

Then there’s the fact that Tench, despite a resume that would shame some Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, is only just now releasing his debut solo effort — You Should Be So Lucky, due February 18, 2014, on Blue Note Records. That’s combined to give short shrift to someone who’s composed a No. 1 country hit for Rosanne Cash and a Top 5 UK smash for Feargal Sharkey, to say nothing of sideman gigs with the likes of Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks, Ringo Starr, Peter Frampton, Don Henley and, of course, Petty.

You Should Be So Lucky, produced by Glyn Johns of the Eagles, Who, Faces and Beatles fame, aims to change all that — beginning with this easy-going country-rock lead single, “Blonde Girl, Blue Dress.” Tench not only provides the comfy front-porch organ sounds but a lived-in, J.J. Cale-style vocal.

Elsewhere, Petty and Starr return the favor, sitting in on an album that elsewhere includes Don Was, Ryan Adams and Gillian Welch, among others. Tench is also set to cover Dylan’s “Duquesne Whistle,” a stand-out moment from 2012’s Tempest.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has also explored music for publications like USA Today, Gannett News Service, All About Jazz and Popdose for nearly 30 years. Honored as newspaper columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section that was named Top 10 in the nation by the AP in 2006. Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.
  • Holly

    This is for sure a highly anticipated album for 2014. I disagree though that Ben is a “faceless soul” of the Heartbreakers. He’s one of the vital six that make the magic for the fans who want to hear more than Free Fallin’ and American Girl at shows (no disrespect to either great song). Tench is a music purist and his skills on those keys is something to behold. :) Can’t wait.

    • Nick DeRiso

      Agreed, Holly. Unfortunately, most people outside of Petty diehards don’t know much about him. Here’s hoping this new album will change all of that.