CD Dust [Rock Ridge] (CD 1337435),
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Dust [Rock Ridge]

  • 1. Rain, The
    2. Still Sweet
    3. Sweet Southern Moon
    4. Tell Myself
    5. Green and Blue
    6. I Love You
    7. Good Enough
    8. Same Damn Book
    9. Whose God?
    10. Clowns
    11. When I Go Home
    12. Graves
    13. Over Me
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 61196

  • Credits
    ProducerDavid Z; Bobby Capps; David Z; Bobby Capps
    EngineerDavid Farrell; David Z; Issac Rives; David Farrell; David Z

    Benjy Davis Project: Benjy Davis (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Anthony Rushing (vocals, mandolin, violin); Michael Galasso (vocals, harmonica, piano, Hammond b-3 organ, Wurlitzer organ); Jonathan Lawhun (electric guitar, banjo); Brett Bolden, Matt Rusnak (bass guitar); Mic Capdevielle (drums, percussion).
    Personnel: Maggie Brown (vocals).
    Audio Mixer: David Z. .
    Recording information: Dockside Studios, Maurice, LA; Rivergate Studios, Hendersonville, TN.
    Six years and three albums in, the Benjy Davis Project has become a cohesive unit, playing folk-rock arrangements that find the members interacting intuitively. The point of the band is to support Davis' voice and songs, of course, but the group has become a distinct unit in a familiar style. It's easy to cite antecedents, since they date back 40 years to when Bob Dylan and the Band began mixing a singer/songwriter and his acoustic guitar with a group that used a rock rhythm section, keyboards, and other acoustic instruments. Among the recent adherents is the Dave Matthews Band, and the Davis group also has elements of Southern rock, especially the Marshall Tucker Band. But then, there are also echoes of early Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. Davis usually starts with his voice and guitar, then adds the other instruments, but whether the sound is flavored with a banjo, a violin, a mandolin, or a Hammond B-3 organ, the point is always to support the voice. He sings in a slightly gruff tenor with an elastic sense of rhythm, the better to add conviction and vulnerability to his lyrics, which are personal and straightforward. Inescapably, this Louisiana native confronts the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in such songs as the leadoff track, "The Rain" ("And now you're standing on what just became your FEMA parking lot") and "Graves" ("I'll build the houses, if you dig the graves"). But his main subject is the ups and downs of love, which he explores in immediate, direct ways, whether he is celebrating the intimacy of a relationship ("Good Enough") or lamenting that he hasn't lived up to his hopes ("Prove You Wrong," with a chorus that begins "I'm gonna be a better man than the one I was last night"). He is at his best when singing about what he knows best, the life of a traveling musician, particularly on the album's standout song "Clowns," which manages to be musically joyous even as it disparages aspects of the music business and features a chorus that cheerily declares, "Giving it up!" He is less effective, if typically emotional, in discussing world events in "Whose God?," demonstrating that he doesn't know any more about them than anybody else who gets their news from television. But throughout, he creates an appealing character, and his backup band has become tight enough to add real punch to his songs. ~ William Ruhlmann

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