Brent Bennett has been working professionally as a musician for over 25 years, playing in bands in Indiana and California. He has a huge archive of self-composed original music as well as a large repertoire of cover music he has accumulated over the years. He has many sides to his writing, often writing everything from rock to blues and country.
Brent performed with bands in California, playing his original music and opening for such artists as John Waite and Echo & the Bunnymen, before returning to Indiana, where he began teaching guitar at GuitarWorks in Greenwood. He now works at Frank's Guitars in Franklin, where he gives instruction on various instruments such as guitar, drums, bass guitar and mandolin.
Since returning to his home in Indiana, he has been involved with the Roadapple band and Gypsy Runner in the early to mid-80s, performing at the Vogue in Broad Ripple on a few occasions as well as at Deer Creek (now Verizon Wireless Music Center).
In 1992, he formed Stones Crossing with Rob York, where he played lead guitar and fronted the band with his own brand of left-handed guitar playing.
His involvement with Ballast resulted in the band's self-titled album released in 2000, on which he wrote all the songs as well as providing lead vocals and guitar.
During his down time with Stones Crossing, Brent spent time with Sindacato, playing bass guitar and contributing an original song to the band's 2005 album, "The Cord."
Brent Bennett is a Raven West Guitars endorsed artist.
Brent Bennett - Vocals, Guitar
Tony Spurlin - Vocals, Bass
Casey Rhoads - Vocals, Drums
"American Stories" - (2011) - Brent Bennett with Randy "Ranch" Wuertz
"A Ghost in Indiana" - (2009) - Brent Bennett
"Brent-Strumentals: Relax" - (2009) - Brent Bennett - released digitally on CDBaby.com
"It Must Be the Blues" (2008) - Brent Bennett - requested by 3 stations worldwide
"The Movers Are in Town" (2007) - Brent Bennett & The Movers - requested by 4 stations worldwide, with all 11 tracks receiving airplay
"Under My Own Power" (2006) - Brent Bennett - requested by 77 stations worldwide, with all 11 tracks receiving airplay
"Crossing the Country" (2005) - Brent Bennett & Rob York - requested by 101 stations worldwide, with all 12 tracks receiving airplay
"The Cord" (2005) - Sindacato - Brent played bass, provided lead and backing vocals and wrote the song "My Kind of Woman"
"Ballast" (2000) - Ballast - Brent provided lead guitars and vocals and wrote all the songs on the album
Playing to the Hometown Crowd
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Brent Bennett can't think of a better place to build his music career than central Indiana. As a...Brent Bennett can't think of a better place to build his music career than central Indiana.
As a musician for more than 20 years, he probably could join the throngs of other people trying to make it big in places such as Nashville, Tenn., or Los Angeles.
But he stays where he is, living, working and performing in central Indiana.
Bennett, 44, has been playing music professionally since the mid-1980s and for fun longer than that.
Though rock superstardom has escaped him, Bennett said he is happy carving out a musical niche for himself locally.
"People have said you can probably do better in Orlando or some place like that, but I like Indiana," he said. "I like the seasons, I like the state, and I like the people here."
Musical talent is something Bennett was born with. His mother and father played in bands and choirs, and he gravitated at a young age toward performing while growing up in Bargersville.
In his downtown Franklin shop, Guitar Co., hangs a picture documenting his long-standing relationship with music. A 2-year-old Bennett holds a small guitar and strikes a rock pose.
"I remember being around music my entire life," he said.
His talents developed, and Bennett learned to play the drums. A budding creative writer, he only switched to guitar to serve as a vehicle for the poetry he was crafting.
"I learned three chords and immediately tried to write a song," he said.
His first band, The Invaders, formed in high school and lasted just long enough to write about 20 songs, practice and play a local party.
Here he learned a valuable lesson in rock 'n' roll.
"I was basically a nerd in high school," he said. "After that party, I wasn't a nerd anymore."
The call of stardom beckoned after Bennett graduated from Center Grove High School in 1982. He moved to California and continued penning songs.
His enjoyed modest success, performing in bands and opening for folk artist John Waite and English rockers Echo and the Bunnymen.
Bennett was not meant to live in California, though. He missed the Indiana atmosphere and the effect it had on his music, so he moved back in the mid-1980s.
"I always tell people, being from Indiana, you're perfectly between Detroit rock 'n' roll, Chicago blues and Nashville country," he said. "Throughout my life, all of those things have trickled into my music."
Playing with local bands Roadapple and Gypsy Runner, Bennett established himself in the Indianapolis country-rock music scene.
He formed Stones Crossing in 1992 with Rob York, who today remains Bennett's songwriting partner.
Over the years, Bennett has played with local band Sindacato and is in another band, Drop Kick Ned. He formed his own group, The Movers, composed of York on acoustic guitar, Don Spade on electric guitar, Ranch Wuertz on bass and Matt Allen on drums.
But trying to develop his music and make a living has proved difficult. Playing a late-night gig on a weeknight didn't always suit a 9-to-5 lifestyle, so Bennett has gravitated toward more accommodating professions.
He teaches guitar in the area, and he and his wife, Cyndi Pote, own The Guitar Co. in Franklin.
Both professional avenues allow him to pursue his musical interests nearly full time.
He admits that if a record company came calling, he'd probably have no choice but to take a deal. And for a short time, living the life that would bring might be exciting.
War stories from musician friends on tour serve as a powerful reminder, though.
"The road tears you up," he said. "At my age, it would not be an easy thing."
Bennett has a catalog of more than 600 songs, and he's continually writing more. Pote, who serves as his manager, routinely submits his work in musician circles in the hope that a more established performer will want to record it.
One of his songs, "When It's Over," was awarded an honorable mention by American Songwriter magazine in its November-December issue.
Other recent recognitions online have drawn attention to Bennett's music. His Facebook social networking page has garnered 90,000 hits since it was created.
The more times people see his name, the closer success comes, in the form of one of his songs becoming a hit, he said.
"If Garth Brooks or Kenny Chesney want to record one of my songs, go out on the road and send me checks, that'd be great," Bennett said with a laugh.
Bennett plays regularly in the area. He hosts an open blues jam on Mondays at the Juke Box Live in Franklin and has an upcoming gig at Birdy's in Indianapolis on Friday.
With a stable situation in his hometown, Bennett values his current situation over becoming a rock idol.
"Earlier in my life, I would have done anything to get away and be out there on the road," he said. "Now, I'm pretty comfortable."
Brent Bennett, It Must Be the Blues
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Four stars A faithful tour through electric blues and R&B classics guided by Southside guitarist ...Four stars
A faithful tour through electric blues and R&B classics guided by Southside guitarist and guitar teacher Brent Bennett. Bennett’s one original is the title track, a power ballad laced with thick strums on an acoustic guitar, and the only time he departs from electric. Bennett’s the star here — bassist Floyd Tucker and drummer Carl LoSasso remain always in the background — turning in an impressive 10 minutes of muscular Chicago blues on Fenton Robinson’s “Loan Me A Dime.” While Bennett’s voice is serviceable, there’s plenty more passion and spontaneity in his guitar.
Sounds like: Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Gene Deer
Last week: Songwriters Café
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Friday’s initial instalment in the monthly Indianapolis Songwriter’s Café seemed a success on all ac...Friday’s initial instalment in the monthly Indianapolis Songwriter’s Café seemed a success on all accounts: The show was well-attended, the three singer-songwriters — Bill Price, Frank Dean and Brent Bennett — turned out inspired performances, no one tried to talk over the singers (and thus no one was thrown out), merchandise was sold and there was free food. I got there about a half-hour into the show, but things went on for a good three hours with only a short break — and one got the sense that all three guys could go on all night.
... Brent Bennett — the third middle-aged guy with long hair on stage, maybe a bit younger than the other two — plays a bit more in a pop-country style, with hearty strums and accessible, catchy choruses. He played the one original to his upcoming blues album, “It Must Be the Blues”; the song goes by the same name, and was a simple blues tune with elegant grace notes between chord changes. His “Midnight Man” dealt with some of the same blue-collar issues that Dean explores in his work, focusing on overnight factory workers instead of Dean’s coal miners. The workers earn “solitude and an extra 40 cents an hour” in Bennett’s tune, but pay the price of losing their voice and a whole lot of other common human qualities — love, companionship, etc. — that shouldn’t be sacrificed to a factory.
Brent Bennett & The Movers
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Zanies Too Friday, June 22, 10 p.m., $3 On Friday, Indianapolis will get a little taste of somet...Zanies Too
Friday, June 22, 10 p.m., $3
On Friday, Indianapolis will get a little taste of something Australia and Europe have been raving about. Residing locally, singer-songwriter Brent Bennett and his band, the Movers, will perform at Zanies Too.
If you’re wondering what you’ve been missing, Bennett’s music has been described as alt-country and blues, but his most recent albums have more of a Hoosier roots-rock feel. No matter what genre Bennett’s music falls under, the smooth, easy-listening tunes are sure to please anyone with a taste for hearty, all-natural music.
The musician, with more than 20 years of professional experience under his belt, released a solo album last July. Under My Own Power is a melodic collection of songs about love and passion. Bennett has a clear voice, which leans toward that of Neil Young in songs like “Pain in My Past,” a lyrically raw song touching on the heartache of divorce. Bennett’s “I’m Gonna Love You” instantly brings the Beatles to mind, with his vocal introduction somehow morphing into a perfect Paul McCartney match.
Audience members could not be in for a bigger treat. Bennett sings of life like he lives it — no falsity, just sweet music.
Crossing the Country: The Songwriter's Art
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Brent Bennett and Rob York’s CD, Crossing the Country, is a finely crafted recording that features t...Brent Bennett and Rob York’s CD, Crossing the Country, is a finely crafted recording that features twelve original songs written by Bennett and York, or by Brent Bennett alone, that properly belong in that excellent country music songwriting tradition that extends from Jimmy Rodgers and Hank Williams to modern luminaries such as Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson. These songs are “white blues” roots music at its most honest, torchy and funky, and all are expressions of these through eloquent, lyrical poetry.
If there can be said to be a fault with these twelve most original songs on Crossing the Country, it is that they are too good. Really too good for the formulaic that comes too much out of country music nowadays, too creative, too striking, to market with an eye toward “mainstream mediocrity” demographics to have the chance they deserve for commercial success.
But enough of that. Potential for commercial success or not doesn’t get in our way of celebrating the musical treasure trove we have on Crossing the Country, and appreciating each one of these gems in the diadem individually. Further, the music composed and arranged for each of these songs, with vocals, it seems, all done by Brent Bennett, doesn’t try to be either ersatz rock or maudlin “redneck retro.” It’s just straightforward, as honest as the songs it backs, and played quite well by Bennett and York.
In the twelve songs of Crossing the Country we have both novel themes for country music explored, as well as novel approaches to traditional country themes. For example, we have four different approaches to country’s venerable theme of “hitting the road,” which show that there’s many different ways to hit that ol’ highway and get out, or go where we truly want to go. The opening cut, “Nashville Here I Come,” is about being talented and stuck in small town stagnation, but busting out of this to try for the bright lights, big city of Nashville (and no, I don’t mean Indiana tourist trap Nashville, Indiana, a Kafkaesque metaphor I use here for that ending-up for all too many unappreciated Indiana musicians, who play anonymous, underpaid gigs over the long time only to find themselves stranded, neglected, and without car fare out). There’s celebration of the take-this-job-and-shove-it hobo road on “King of the Highway,” hitting that get-in-my-truck-and-leave-that–evil-woman-behind highway on “Goodbye Gear,” and traveling that slipping-out-on creditors road on “Greyhound Tomorrow.” All taking us on rollicking journeys to destinations that we really want to reach.
We have the torch songs of losing and finding love given by the Eagles-like ballad of pining, ‘Seven Months & 14 Days,” and the exultant melting-of-hardness-by-unexpectedly-finding-love celebration given us on “Barbed Wire.” The poignant, Kristofferson-like, “The Sign,” looks at homelessness through a moving “there but for fortune” accidental confrontation. “The Sign” makes a statement that’s philosophical and compelling, but not preachy or maudlin, a country counterpart to the elegant yet philosophical blues songs written by Indiana’s Milligan and Steam Shovel. In both cases, we have songs that stun us with thought, but don’t hammer the obvious into our heads like it was a railroad spike. The theme of getting-into-fatal-trouble-with-the-law finds this same compelling, non-sappy treatment given it on “Trouble in Texas.”
And finally, in tune with contemporary country’s finding out that there’s more to sex than what’s told or understood by Bible Belt Baptists, Brent Bennett gives us four open expressions of the joy of lust, delightful celebrations of the erotic in those ways that rock came to know, and the blues always knew. Bennett, both in song lyrics and vocals, makes a fine male Shania Twain indeed. And that rock-like openness comes out well on both the frolicsome bawdiness of the modal “My Neck of the Woods,” and the uptempo seductiveness of the ballad of seduction, “Ride My Train.” Bennett also develops his feeling for the erotic in two songs wrapped thematically around venues, with both songs taking different approaches. There’s the eagerly anticipatory room-for-the-night at the “Wishing Well Motel” revel on one hand, but also the deep understanding of the loneliness and longing that’s often coupled with the lustful in barroom trysts, “Three Nickels and a Dime,” where Bennett eloquently gives us both sides of that coin in one song that both surprises and celebrates—companionship as well as sexual desire.
These twelve well crafted songs on Crossing the Country, harken us to that halcyon time of the late Sixties up to the mid-Seventies, when pop music across all genres could boldly cross lines and explore limits that were both artistically and commercially successful, that time now so seemingly gone when country could accommodate both Merle Haggard and the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Johnny Cash could commune as a soulmate with Bob Dylan. Perhaps the songs on Crossing the Country, which express the creativity of that extraordinary time so well, will find receptive ears and participate in a revival of that creative era, such as perhaps the Dixie Chicks’ uncompromising boldness on Taking the Long Way is hopefully a harbinger of. Perhaps a hoped-for melding of the striking and the traditional through a shared creativity is in the wings, and if so, then Brent Bennett and Rob York are trailblazing scouts for it along with the Dixie Chicks, just as this writer finds in Natalie Maines echoes of Patsy Cline.
Under My Own Power: Maximum Thrust
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Brent Bennett's just-released solo CD, Under My Own Power, provides the listener with a portrait of ...Brent Bennett's just-released solo CD, Under My Own Power, provides the listener with a portrait of Brent Bennett, creative force, in all his multidimensionality. All of Brent Bennett is here, and this writer can definitely say that his listening of Under My Own Power made him aware of aspects of Bennett's musical talent he had not been aware of previously--despite seeing Bennett perform live, despite listening to his excellent collaboration with Rob York on the Crossing the Country CD. For Brent Bennett is more than an excellent, expressive vocalist, more than an outstanding multi-instrumental virtuoso, even more than the strikingly insightful and original songwriter of Crossing the Country. Bennett is indeed all of these, but he shows that he is also something more on Under My Own Power. He shows that he is also a gifted arranger and, even though he alone plays all the instruments on the CD, could be an excellent bandleader as well. He'd only have to hire other musicians to play the bass, drums and rhythm guitar and sing the background vocals he does as a one-man-band with all the ample multi-tracking capabilities available to him through his own recording studio that he has at his fingertips!
Further, Brent Bennett shows that he has his own distinctive Brent Bennett country-rock sound as well, and as both his arrangements and the musical variety of the songs on Under My Own Power show, this original Brent Bennett Sound is a versatile tour de force. Its essence, so amply demonstrated on the CD, has at its foundation the riffing of an acoustic rhythm guitar overlaid with stinging electric guitar rock leads and solos. It is a nice ambience that Bennett's created here, a natural, creative outgrowth of that already extraordinarily creative pop music that gestated from the mid-Sixties into the mid-Seventies, and the musically informed will discern within Bennett's music echoes of America, the Eagles and 1965 Beatles--but only echoes, creative shadings, certainly not copying or cloning. And not only that, he serves his influences well. For example, the Beatles-evocative track here, "I'm Gonna Love You," could serve nicely as a Lennon/McCartney creation that George, Paul, John and Ringo would've all felt very comfortable in playing and recording.
And "I'm Gonna Love You," same as with ten of the eleven songs on Under My Own Power, are Bennett originals. The last cut, "Louisiana Is Calling My Name," was written in collaboration with Rob York. Another fulsome display indeed of Bennett's songwriting talent.
Two of the songs Bennett wrote for Under My Own Power he's performed previously. He played "My Heart's in Mississippi" at the Franklin Opry on June 11, and he first recorded "My Kind of Woman" as a member of the roots band Sindacato on its most recent CD, The Cord.
So, indeed, and not at all a surprise, Under My Own Power comprises eleven excellent original songs. Even the two this writer found the weakest lyrically, "Where'd You Hide Your Wings" and "I'm Gonna Love You" would still stand out serviceably as pop singles. And this writer thinks that "Down by the River," "My Heart's in Mississippi" and "My Kind of Woman" would all make it solidly as singles that would deservedly be on the country/rock crossover charts. (However, the reader should be aware that this writer is assuming that kind of discernment, or at least that acceptance of quality over crap, that made so much of the great music of the Sixties and Seventies commercial as well as critical successes.) The others would do better gracing album-length CDs, and would indeed grace such CDs well.
As is the norm for pop music of all genres, the basic theme of Under My Own Power is the love-and-lust relationship between man and woman--given here in all its varieties, nasty as well as joyous. And while "Down by the River," "Where'd You Hide Your Wings," "I'm Gonna Love You" and "My Kind of Woman" celebrate the love relations between the sexes, and "Louisiana Is Calling My Name" is the exuberant crowing of a young man who received his sexual initiation during Mardi Gras, "My Heart's in Mississippi" is an expression of wistful longing and doubt, a ballad of separation from the woman he loves but can't return to now, and hoping that she'll still be there for him when he does return.
The remaining four songs here that have the relationship between the sexes as their themes look at it from its rueful, regretful side. "Annie Where Are You" is the tale of doubt and chagrin at being stood up by the woman he yearns for, and "Love Is a Trap," "Pain in My Past" and "Lioness," as the titles suggest and live up to, are bitter, angry, and yet highly creative, emotionally resonant expressions that, as sung by male singer Brent Bennett, many a feminist might call misogynist. But to be fair all around, to feminism, to Brent Bennett, and to reality, being screwed over by a member of the opposite sex is gender-inclusive, and ripoff intimate relationships are indeed equal opportunity! Change some of the lyrics slightly and then have these songs sung by a woman, and Bennett's truly artistic vitriol would direct itself toward men instead! War, as well as truce, peace, and harmony between the sexes are all there--and go under the name of reality, lest we forget.
The one song on Under My Own Power not focusing on the sexual relationship is an affirmative working-class ballad, "Midnight Man," a substantive tale of finding oneself able to escape the drudgery of it all through the solitude and 40-cents-an-hour more granted by working a third-shift job. Brent Bennett knows the realities of working-class life, of class and classism, and he knows how to give them expression in song. And he does so not only on "Midnight Man," but also through two phrases he incorporates into "Down by the River," where he limns the duality and satisfaction that comes to him now, "singin' to the rich man's daughter," now as it follows that time before when "I busted my ass for minimum wage."
Yes indeed, this writer is enthusiastic about the talent and creativity of Brent Bennett, and isn't hesitant about saying that Bennett should be in Nashville--and no, I don't mean playing for tips in that tourist trap located in Southern Indiana!
The Movers Are in Town: Nashville Quality
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(And that’s the city in Tennessee, buddy, not the Southern Indiana tourist trap!) Brent Bennett a...(And that’s the city in Tennessee, buddy, not the Southern Indiana tourist trap!)
Brent Bennett and the Movers’ The Movers Are In Town is a solid CD of eleven original songs written either by Bennett himself or by Bennett with Rob York that run the gamut of human emotions, well-crafted songs performed very well that evoke the golden age of country music’s master composer/performers such as Johnny Cash, June Carter (who wrote Cash’s masterful “Ring of Fire”), Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson. The songs move in range from the exuberant “Mama’s Dance Hall Barbecue Barn” to the darkly moody “Two Dollar Pistol,” Bennett’s portrayal of a desperate man on his journey into the rings of Dante’s hell. Plenty of songs here, as de rigueur, of trouble women and rueful love, with the important proviso that all rise above the standard clichés and stereotyped images of pop-country music to demonstrate forcefully that even the standard, the staple, still has plenty of room for originality and the exercise of the poet’s muse. In this regard, “Cold December Day,” on the woman leaving her man, and the two in tandem of the woman-who’s-less-than-meets-the-eye, “Movie of the Week” and “She’s Artificial,” stand out, while the rueful “I Was Just Like You (To Someone Just Like Me)” is a beautifully-told tale of love’s tables turning. Ending The Movers Are In Town is a populist anthem, “I’m an American Man,” a fit celebration of the working person.
Brent Bennett and the Movers—Bennett, lead vocals and multi-tracked guitars and keyboards; W.D. Spade, bass and backing vocals; and Matt Allen, drums—do a powerhouse job of handling the musical chores, creating a vibrant music that partakes not just of country, but also blues, rock ‘n’ roll, and classic rock that is all of these, and yet none of these particularly: just good, down-home music that evokes comparisons, but never apes them. It’s an exciting music, and full of surprises—such as the subdued heavy-metal feel of “Long Black Thunder,” played the way heavy metal deserves to be played, straightforward guitar riffing without the gonzo pyrotechnics, which reminded this writer of Deep Purple at its best (which was most of Deep Purple). Bennett’s lead guitar licks are always appropriate: well-crafted, well thought-out, not sparse, but with not a single extraneous note either, and no flash for mere flash’s sake. Brent Bennett and the Movers’ The Movers Are in Town simply stands out, and properly joins Bennett’s two earlier, also masterful CDs, Brent Bennett and Rob York’s Crossing the Country and Bennett’s own Under My Own Power.
Brent Bennett and the Movers is just an excellent band playing excellent, truly original music, period, and Bennett and the Movers are well deserving of greater exposure (which they are getting, all too typically, for truly paradigm American artists—in Europe and Australia), and this writer urges Bennett to get movin’ and make sure this CD gets heard where it needs to be heard, and not just confined to the Central Indiana environs. That means get it somehow to A&R persons in Nashville, Memphis and L.A., get it to the notice of Bloomington radio station WTTS (the only decent pop radio station that’s heard in Indy), find a distributor that will get it into stores and markets where urbane country-blues-rock is going to get a serious listen. In short, move this sucker, because it deserves it! Because the CD and the band really deserve it, and are too little known. After all our one-shot local stars who got national exposure only to quickly blow it and disappear as meteorically as they rose—the Wright Brothers, Henry Lee Summer, and the Why Store—turn the spotlight on a local band that really deserves to be in the light and on the national stage—Brent Bennett and the Movers!
Brent Bennett Has the Blues -- Soulfully
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As a professional music writer I always find it difficult to write about talented musician friends s...As a professional music writer I always find it difficult to write about talented musician friends such as Brent Bennett. Concern over conflict of interest rein in the praise given, lest I be seen as writing PR rather than criticism. Fortunately, however, when I adjudge a friend’s musical talent and new CD excellent, I never stand alone: other critics, who have substantial credentials for criticism but lack the bonds of personal friendship with the artists that I have, readily concur that my musical friends and their products are, indeed, excellent. Let it be said here that I have regarded Brent Bennett as a friend for several years, have always delighted in his live shows, have reviewed his previous three independent CDs, and am honored now to positively review his latest, excellent fourth, It Must Be the Blues. Which, as a straightforward blues CD, shows both continuities and discontinuities with his previous work. For Bennett, a truly talented singer, songwriter and guitarist who has garnered much previous praise for his work and extensive airplay in Europe and Australia, is best established as a country-rock player and composer. But he has always been at home in the blues, and It Must Be the Blues only reveals another facet of his prodigiously multidimensional talent.
Unlike Brent Bennett’s previous CDs, the nine-track It Must Be the Blues only contains one original of his, with the vast majority of tunes here well-established blues by such masterful songwriters as Ray Charles, Delbert McClinton, B.B. King, Otis Rush, Same Cooke, Willie Dixon and Fenton Robinson. The CD opens ruminatively and insidiously with Ray Charles’s gambler’s lament, “Blackjack,” then moves up-tempo to the Texas jump, “Too Much Stuff,” and already early in the CD a new, bouncy inflection occurs, the gospel-inflected R&B of Sam Cooke’s “Somebody Have Mercy.” But from the first notes, Brent Bennett is showing himself solidly in control and self-definition of the blues here—these aren’t copies, clones, of other people’s songs, these are Brent Bennett’s blues as he feels them playing the classic blues of others. This is especially shown when he ambitiously undertakes to play three blues classics that hard-core blues fans are bound to be familiar with, three blues numbers classically and authoritatively connected with their creators—Otis Rush’s “So Many Roads, So Many Trains;” B.B. King’s “You Upset Me Baby;” and Willie Dixon’s “My Babe.” Brent Bennett has to walk a careful line here: on the one hand, he must be faithful to the style and intent of these originals, deeply ingrained as the originals are in the classic repertoire of the blues; on the other hand, while doing this, Bennett must make each one his own, his way of stating and interpreting these blues as Brent Bennett’s blues, not just copycatting the blues of Otis Rush, B.B. King and Willie Dixon. On both these counts, Brent Bennett excels. He breathes new, original life into each number here, not just the last-mentioned three, but into each track on the album, giving his own insightful interpretation of these blues of others. This is very nicely shown on B.B. King’s “You Upset Me Baby” and Willie Dixon’s “My Babe,” which Bennett rocks up well and appropriately, without losing any of the supple, jazz-like fluidity of the originals.
In addition to being an incisive, emotionally resonant vocalist, Brent Bennett is an excellent guitarist who has mastered the art of playing the extended lead guitar solo. His approach is to make every note count in building and forwarding his solos, and never to use flash merely for flash’s sake, nor to overwhelm by overplaying. We sense this power and economy early on, in the opening “Blackjack,” and again, in “So Many Roads, So Many Trains,” and really hear it in the 6 minutes, 39 seconds’ worth of solo playing on his 10-minute, 52-second rendition of Fenton Robinson’s “Loan Me a Dime,” which is over twice as long as any other track on the CD. There are actually three solo intervals here, the 2-minute, 9-second introductory solo at the beginning; the 3-minute, 15-second solo break in the middle, which is actually a blues fugue in three interconnected yet distinct movements, and then, at the end, in the 1-minute, 15-second solo that carries the tune to denouement. Here Brent Bennett is masterful at making his guitar into an aching second voice, augmenting and restating what is conveyed in the lyrics, both as meaning and as underlying emotion.
Two of the songs on It Must Be the Blues are not traditional blues, and both add a nice counterpoint to the blues music of the other tracks. One is Brent Bennett’s title track, which is a country-pop acoustic-guitar-and-vocal original that Bennett composed, and typical of the kind of songs he writes so well. The other is the final cut, “Ashokan Farewell,” a lyrical instrumental played on electric guitar.
Brent Bennett handles all vocal and guitar chores, and has only two other players accompanying him on the CD—Floyd Tucker, bass, and Carl LoSasso, drums. The stereo separation makes Tucker’s bass always an implacable, persistent presence that never dominates, but properly complements; while LoSasso’s steady, craftsman-like drumming augments the bass to provide a solid rhythmic accompaniment to the whole. It Must Be the Blues belongs in any music lover’s library, and can be ordered directly on the Web from www.BrentBennettMusic.com.
Crossing the Country
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A year before "Under My Own Power" was released, "Crossing The Country" by Brent Bennett and his fri...A year before "Under My Own Power" was released, "Crossing The Country" by Brent Bennett and his friend Rob York came out. Brent is a professional musician for over twenty years, after he returned to Indiana he was involved with various bands until he formed Stones Crossing with Rob York in 1992 and played lead-guitar. In the meantime he also made albums with Ballast and Sindacato, while he currently works in the studio on an album with his band The Movers, featuring Rob York on rhythm guitar, Don Spade (bass) and percussionist Matt Allen.
On "Crossing The Country" Rob co-wrote half of the songs with Brent, the credits aren't specified, so I assume he plays guitar and maybe sings some harmony too. Otherwise this CD is not much different from "Under My Own Power", it's just as good!
The title covers the theme of this album very well, a lot of travelling is done in the catchy songs, by truck, train or Greyhound bus. Starting off with "Nashville Here I Come", the tale of talented young people ready to leave their boring small town. "Goodbye Gear" has the great line "My guitar's sitting next to me / She's told me where to go", while "Greyhound Tomorrow" got wonderful guitarwork and a story about the man trying to escape from an avalanche of debts. "Trouble In Texas" and "Ride My Train" are both exciting, fast rocking songs, the first one with the dark shadow of the hangman looming in the background, the second turning out to be a metaphor for seduction. Only one typical singer-songwriter track with some strings, "The Sign", an introspective ballad about a homeless man. Brent is great in his fast songs, but the ballads can't be missed either! Of course there are a few songs about love & longing featured too, for the long or short run, in the past ("Seven Months & 14 Days") or in the present, at the "Wishing Well Motel" on Fridaynight: "It can be our little secret" and at the bar ("Three Nickels & A Dime"), while the last song ("I had barbed wire across my heart") even has a happy end!
Before anybody passes this by as yet another self-released countryrock album: please, notice the superb songwriting in the first place and don't forget to listen closely to guitarplaying and singing, as there's quite a bit more to it here!
Brent Bennett - Under My Own Power
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It's a crowded old world out there in the realms of Americana, alt-country, roots rock, or whatever ...It's a crowded old world out there in the realms of Americana, alt-country, roots rock, or whatever the hell we're calling it this week, so if you want to drag yourself over the bodies of pallid faux country boys spitting out Neil Young lyrics with their dying breaths, you're going to have to do something clever. But not Brent Bennett.
What he does is something astonishingly simple, yet something that so many Hank wannabees forget about. He plays the guitar. Really! Because what separates this from the ranks of the also ran is a love affair with the guitar, something too many roots rockers forget about. Sure, he can write a good song as well, which always helps, but this veteran of over 20 years standing has remembered that we came here to rock. And as he played all the instruments on this album, he deserves an extra round of applause.
It's also full of great, expressive songs, some which seem to be a tad on the mucky side, others dealing with the more exalted forms of love, but whether it's a boy popping his cherry in New Orleans ("Louisiana Is Calling My Name"), the considerably more romantic "I'm Gonna Love You" or the choogling anger of "Love Is a Trap," he knows his way around a good melody. This is a good one, so go get some.
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