Tab BenoitTab Benoit has taken an old-fashioned route in his Blues career. Like Rory Gallagher in the 1970s, and Joe Bonamassa today, Tab releases high-quality albums then tours relentlessly to play the music to his people, and the result is a rock-solid fan base that doesn’t depend on radio stations and record companies to keep on coming back. Tab plays a Deep Southern Blues that has it’s roots in the Delta and in the Swamp, but he knows how to rock an audience, whether at a Festival or an intimate club gig.

Born in Baton Rouge, LA in 1967, as a teenager Tab was keen to show his guitar chops at Tabby Thomas‘s Blues Box club in town, which was also a hangout for Raful and Kenny Neal, and Tabby’s son Chris Thomas King. In common with a lot of Blues coming out of Baton Rouge, like Guitar Slim, Slim Harpo, Lightnin’ Slim and the young Buddy Guy, Tab’s sound had that laid-back ‘Swamp’ feel. When he was 20, Tab formed a trio to play clubs around the region and, in 1992, his debut album ‘Nice and Warm’ was released on the Justice label. Since than Tab has issued an album almost every year up to end of the ‘noughties’. In 2002 his ‘Whisky Store’ album, which he made with guitarist Jimmy Thackery, featured ex-Stevie Ray Vaughan sidemen Tommy Shannon, Chris Layton and Reece Wyans, and a guest spot from Charlie Musselwhite. Tab and Jimmy took the show on the road and released an excellent live version.

Tab’s version of ‘Shelter Me’;

Since then, Tab has won numerous Blues Music Awards, including the ‘BB King Entertainer of the Year’, and toured widely in The States and Europe at Festivals and as a solo artist. His work in conservation, as founder of ‘Voice of the Wetlands’, also won awards, and he featured in the I-Max film ‘Hurricane on the Bayou’ about the aftermath of Katrina. Tab makes a good case for protecting the unique Louisiana wetland environment, which is being lost at a rate of acre an hour, and also for promoting the rich culture this place has brought us. We wouldn’t have ‘Swamp Blues’ without it!