With the establishment of so-called alternative rock, the concept of a "guitar hero" is now passé, for better and worse. While tedious fretboard histrionics have (rightly) gone out of style, there should be room for hot-stuff six-string slingers matching flash with creativity. Blues music impacted less by trendiness and more craftsmanship still exists in some pockets, and for Louisiana's Tab Benoit, that approach to the genre is all that he knows.
At 41 years old, Benoit combines two regional styles near and dear to his heart -- the incendiary sting of Texas blues with the more laid-back, sultry, and Cajun-infused swamp blues. It's a nice blend but make no mistake -- Benoit isn't mired in any idealized past. While he exemplifies the cool-cat sting of Albert Collins and the Big Easy assurance of Slim Harpo, Benoit's covered songs by Julie Miller and Stephen Stills and his sound is still current. He's the kind of performer that when you listen to his music, it always feels like Saturday night in the Deep South and that's exactly what you can expect this weekend.
Saturday, December 20, City Limits, 19 3rd Ave., Delray Beach. Show starts at 8 p.m.; tickets cost $17 in advance, $19 day of show. Ages 21+ with ID. 561-279-8222; www.citylimitsdelray.com.
-- Mark Keresman
Here's a cool behind-the-scenes video podcast about the music of Tab Benoit, produced by MacGivillray Freeman Films, who included Benoit in their large-format film, Hurricane on the Bayou.