Benjamin Booker – Witness (album review)

by Woody on June 1, 2017


Benjamin Booker’s s/t debut was an album that exploded out of the speakers – full of youthful exuberance, guitars wailing, Booker’s grizzled voice belting out vocals – in what was one of my favorite albums of 2014. But as is wont to happen, people get older and their outlook on life changes.

For Booker, that took place in Mexico, during one of the strangest fucking years we’ll ever see in America (wishful thinking). At the top of his press release is a James Baldwin quote, “Once you find yourself in another civilization you are forced to examine your own.” It was during his time in Mexico that Booker realized that he wasn’t there to clear his head and start writing. He was there running from the issues, and for a young black man – racism is at the forefront of those issues.

So how did this clarity affect his sophomore effort. All in all, it just feels more mature, more measured and more soulful (having Mavis Staples on the title track is a good way to accomplish that). There’s some good and bad to that as part of what made the debut so damn enjoyable was the devil may care attitude that comes with being young and thinking your invincible.

Witness is an excellent album and a damn ambitious album for a young artist. Booker could have easily cranked out another album of guitar heavy, blues-infused rockers. Instead he dug deep and put forth a challenging album that bodes well for his career. Like Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes, It shows an artist willing to test the boundaries.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Benjamin Booker is here

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

ponemusic June 2, 2017 at 5:02 pm

Thanks For Video

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