Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
BENOIT, Tab(b 17 November 1967) Blues guitarist, bandleader, singer and songwriter, based in Houma, Louisiana, near New Orleans. He combines a Cajun-influenced blend of swamp blues with the East Texas guitar-based style. He didn't much enjoy recording in the conventional way, so he makes it as much fun as possible: he likes to record a set straight through twice a day for three days so that he has six takes of each tune, and then releases the best takes; he feels that this gets close to the feeling of a live set, and his live sets are as good as the best.
Benoit is also well known for his environmental activism on behalf of the Louisiana wetlands: the area has been devastated by decades of mismanagement and nothing is being done. He has formed a Voice of the Wetlands Foundation and hosts an annual blues fest and a golf classic to raise money for it; to find out more, go here. He also appeared in and narrated the IMax film Hurricane on the Bayou (2006) about the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina; and the profits from the music DVD Voice of the Wetlands, recorded live at the North Atlantic Blues Festival in Rockland Maine in 2006, go to the Foundation.
His albums began on Vanguard, including Nice and Warm '92, What I Live For '94, Standing On The Bank '95, Live: Swampland Jam '97 and These Blues Are Mine '99. He switched to Telarc for Homesick For The Road '99, Wetlands 2002, Whiskey Store 2002 (with Texas guitar slinger Jimmy Thackery), The Sea Saint Sessions 2003 and Fever for the Bayou 2005. Still on Telarc, Brother to The Blues 2006 allowed some country influence, with a fiddle in the mix and Benoit playing some steel (after all, Hank Williams sang about a pirogue on the bayou); then Power of the Pontchartrain 2007 came out as Benoit was named Blues Entertainer of the Year at the 2007 Blues Music Awards, and Night Train To Nashville, released in 2008, was recorded live in Nashville the night before the awards.