Brendan Benson-Good To Be Alive

It’s been a long while since we heard solo material from Brendan Benson. His last album, You Were Right, came out way back in 2013. He’s kept himself busy lately with his other band, The Raconteurs, and finally took some time to record new songs of his own. The first single off his new record, Dear Life, is a great Valentine’s message of loving yourself … Continue reading Brendan Benson-Good To Be Alive

Petty Fest at Metro 4/23/14: A Benefit Show For Sweet Relief, Sponsored By Jameson



My boss is probably a little pissed at me because I sang myself hoarse last night screaming and clapping along with all 27 or so songs that were played. I don’t care. It was a night to celebrate one of America’s greatest treasures, Thomas Earl Petty, and I wasn’t about to let the threat of a day not being able to speak above a whisper stop me from having a good time. After stops in LA and Seattle, it was finally Chicago’s chance to host The Cabin Down Below Band and their cast of all-star guests, and it was an event no one will soon forget.

The main players took the stage and launched into their opening number, “Cabin Down Below.” Immediately any doubt of them not being up to the huge task of honoring Petty flew out the window. You may think of them as a “cover band,” but these cats can play with anyone. Especially their lead guitarist who had the double duty of paying tribute to Petty as well as Mike Campbell, and he did both as admirably as one could hope.

The guest stars all showed up with their game faces on. It’s all in good fun, of course, but for the most part everyone seemed to take getting the songs right pretty seriously. I was surprised by some of the performances-people I thought could easily phone it in or get by on their name alone ended up being some of the best of the night. Case in point, Danny Masterson and Adam Busch from the show Men At Work. Not only did they knock “Yer So Bad” out of the park musically, but Busch’s stage presence was incendiary. I was shocked (SHOCKED!) by how good they were.
Continue reading “Petty Fest at Metro 4/23/14: A Benefit Show For Sweet Relief, Sponsored By Jameson”

Brendan Benson At Lincoln Hall, 6/28/12

There are certain kinds of concerts I enjoy more than others. It’s great to go see a band that’s headlining do their thing and you leave satisfied with what you’ve seen. It’s quite another when both openers and headliner impress. I knew going into Thursday night’s show that I would be entertained, but I had no idea I would be so happy with the show as a whole. I think a good deal of the credit goes to the fact that all three of these bands have been playing together, with Brendan producing the openers albums for his own record label, Readymade Records. In fact, one of my favorite moments of the whole set was when Brendan came out from backstage and just sat next to a speaker and looked on for the majority of Young Hines’ set. All three bands working toward a common goal, trying to give us the best show possible. And they exceeded the bar that I’m sure they set very high for themselves.

Earlier in the day I had interviewed The Howling Brothers at AudioTree Studios. I’d seen some of their YouTube videos, and was curious to see if they’d give off the same kind of fun energy in person. They didn’t disappoint, whipping through a thirty minute set of honky tonk bluegrass that kept my body moving from the first note. In most of the clips I had seen, Ian did almost all the singing, with Ben and Jared supporting with backup vocals. But here they all sang at least one song, with Ian still taking on the majority. A trio of great instrumentalists who can all also sing? That’s a dangerous mix, and I think Mr. Benson was wise to snatch these guys up. My favorite tune by them remains “Illinois River,” but I think the best performance they played was when Jared got on top of the speakers at Lincoln Hall and did some dancing, even hopping up in the air and clicking his heels together. It was quite the agile feat, and one I’ve never seen before.

After they finished up it wasn’t long before Young Hines came out. The time in between acts was just long enough for a guy to start chatting up Kari and I about looking for apartments in the city. He mentioned that his brother owns The Vinyl Countdownrecord shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma and I think I may have weeped a bit with joy over the name of his store. The lights went down and our conversation ended as Young came out solo for the first two songs. Continue reading “Brendan Benson At Lincoln Hall, 6/28/12”

Brendan Benson-What Kind Of World


If you had come to me a few months ago and said that a member of The Raconteurs was going to release a new album in April that would see so many spins on my iPod I’d be embarrassed, I would have naturally thought you were talking about Jack White. If you then corrected me and said that you were referring to Brendan Benson, AKA the other guy, I probably would have punched you in the throat (in this scenario I’m imagining you as a man without glasses). Now that I’ve heard both solo albums from the bandmates, I’d like to apologize for the hypothetical whupping. Continue reading “Brendan Benson-What Kind Of World”