Tab Benoit has a "Fever for the Bayou," as he titled one song. His music reflects his native Louisiana swamps through sizable doses of Cajun, Creole, and New Orleans spices even when he's playing the electric blues for which he's most renowned. Benoit also is an increasingly prominent crusader for preserving and restoring the southern Louisiana wetlands, which are eroding at an alarming rate due to industrial exploitation, leaving New Orleans and the surrounding region ever more vulnerable to hurricanes. Like Gustav, for example, which mostly spared New Orleans, but steamrolled through Benoit's hometown of Houma. So the "muddy ground" that spawned such a rich culture permeates Benoit's music as he cranks his stinging guitar solos or wails the blues with Tabasco-streaked fervor. Benoit's latest, Night Train to Nashville (Telarc), is an electrifying live album, recorded in Nashville with his regular backing band, the veteran New Orleans outfit Louisiana's Leroux, and a few key buddies, including Kim Wilson, Jim Lauderdale, and Jimmy Hall of Wet Willie fame. Expect a few impassioned words about the vanishing bayous and lots of red-hot Louisiana blues. 21+.
Fri., Sept. 19, 8 p.m., 2008