LIVE: The Tab Benoit Trio @ Cohoes Music Hall, 11/11/17
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Louisiana blues guitarslinger Tab Benoit hasn’t released a new album of his own since 2011’s Medicine, but that could be because he’s too busy producing other people’s albums – people like the gifted guitarist-singer Eric Johanson who opened Benoit’s concert at the Cohoes Music Hall earlier this month.
In fact at this stop of the tour, the only thing on the merch table was 25 copies of Johanson’s Benoit-produced album Burn It Down, and they were all snapped up in a heartbeat during the intermission.
Earlier the man had come out with a classic resonator guitar around his shoulder, great for acoustic slide, but not for much else, and captivated the audience in nano seconds, within several tunes. His style was humble, yet direct, playing in the style of the old-blues-masters. After a couple of acoustic tunes, Benoit’s bassist Corey Duplechin joined in on electric bass while Johanson picked up his electric guitar and wailed with the best of them on a selection of originals from his album. What made this a doubly-unique experience was that behind the drums was none other than the headliner, Tab Benoit. No, he wasn’t John Bonham, but he certainly added fire and drive to the musical mix.
And, of course, all of that was just the warm-up to the main event. For his headlining set Benoit eased up to the microphone and dug in with his guitar. From his first song to the last, he pumped out a heaping helping of his own brand of swamp-soaked bayou blues – his divine guitar playing and vocal stylings stretching from barrelhouse romps to slow-churnin’ ballads.
The venerable Cohoes Music Hall certainly isn’t a backwater Louisiana roadhouse blues bar, but for one night, it almost seemed like it was.