These songs from Brendan Benson‘s live session are entirely infectious. Everywhere I go, the catchy phrases now uncoil themselves to spring forth in bouncy, singalbe, memorable bits. While none of us is a stranger to sensational The Raconteurs of which Benson is a collaborative member, I hadn’t actually realized the depth for which I love this guy and his clean, classic pop-rock sound solo until I started listening over and over again to these cohesive, toned tracks through which Benson’s voice handsomely flows. Now there’s no shaking the viral invasion. Deceptively simplistic, the melodic structure and meter of Benson’s songs ply their way deep as the nursery rhymes we all know by heart. A star songwriter gifted with clear liquid gold for a voice, Brendan Benson magnetically evokes a big, wide-open, uplifting vibe akin to the feeling elicited by McCartney’s post-Beatles tunes. The songs are shiny and pure, radiating the fullness of a speckless period in rock music. Not only does Benson naturally wield smooth in all musical categories, but he also seems to walk surrounded by an entourage of invisible angels. A palpably sweet force surrounds Benson, buttressing and providing protection for the vulnerable, searching side of the star through his trials and adventures.
Brendan and his crew arrived at the studio in a grand traveling palace – a slick gold tour bus, decked to the gills for cruising in style. Perhaps some partying had already occurred by the time they made it to the studio (it did take an awfully long time for the bus driver to negotiate that sharp turn from the skinny street through the gates to the parking lot). Dedicated roadies swooped in to setup gear before Brendan made an appearance. Finally, in he came, slightly road-worn and modestly armed with a yellow pack of American Spirits, a stemless wine glass and a bottle of something crisp and white. After a quick soundcheck, Brendan and the band hit turned-on mode, giving juice to each new song they brightly played, pausing in between for tuning and endless inane banter about guinea pigs (the bass player was relentless with his SmackTalk iPhone app – pretty funny, go see). Although Brendan was tired, he was kind and accessible, hanging out long after the session to shoot the breeze, gear-geek and tenderly mention his anticipation for returning to Nashville to be wed!
If Brendan Benson’s songs were a comestible, they’d be something like a circular hard ginger candy – refined, discreet, not sickly sweet …. satisfying and refreshing …. clean and crisp …. inviting. A pleasure to host, Brendan Benson, like his music, is at once large on character and honestly endearing.
Listen to the Exclusive Live Tracks (option/click to download):