Benjamin Booker can easily be described as soulful and punk, but do not categorize him with the blues.
Reigning from The Big Easy, Booker started his music career in 2007 in Gainesville, Florida as a DJ for a local online radio station. Forcing himself to branch out to music he normally didn’t listen to, he enhanced his musical taste with the likes of The Gun Club, Blind Willie Johnson, and T. Rex. He started out as a journalism major, only to realize he was only in it to get advice from the musicians he intended to review. Moving back and forth from New Orleans, to Florida, then back to New Orleans, this was the rough period that Booker decided to write his first album.
“I wrote stuff and didn’t think that anyone would see it. The songs are very personal. So people having access to that definitely made it a little terrifying. I realized that sometimes doing scary stuff was good because I always felt great afterwards,” Booker explained about his music writing process. With his first album, self-titled “Benjamin Booker,” his lyrics set him apart as an individual. He even goes as far as labeling his own genre as “Tent City Revival” according to his Facebook page. From the opening track “Violent Shivers” to the last track “By the Evening,” you get an image of Booker being a passionate fellow that touches on a rollercoaster of emotions. From spiritual to political aspects, he isn’t afraid to expose the true downs of his life.
The main thing to take from Booker’s music is this: do not categorize him with the blues. “I don’t play that kind of stuff at all. There’s like two solos on the record, and they’re like ten seconds long. I didn’t do like eight minute long solos…I don’t know, I don’t really write blues songs. I guess I listen to a lot of blues, and sometimes I take blues melodies or parts from blues. But I listen to like punk and then I took stuff from soul and blues and stuff. But I wouldn’t say that we play blues music really. I just have no interest in that stuff,” Booker playfully explains. Ok, BB, we get it- you like the blues, but you ain’t the blues.
By Madeline Robicheaux