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Benjamin Booker

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Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Benjamin Booker is riding a wave of enthusiasm that's already declaring him hands-down new artist of the year. Booker, 25, grew up a punker in Tampa and after college moved to New Orleans, where he got an education in blues and R&B listening to iconic roots radio station WWOZ. His sound now is raw and mostly adrenaline-fueled, blasting through tunes on a furious tide of cascading rhythm and guitar riffs culled from a century of predecessors. The first single off his self-titled debut, "Violent Shiver," kicks off with Chuck Berry riffs before tearing off on a blues-punk dash laced with deep, soulful hooks. Booker's expressive singing, reputedly inspired by Robert Johnson, is slurred, raspy, and utterly idiosyncratic. It generates its own energy. Nashville rockers Blank Range open.

Rick Mason

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