“New Orleans style is funky,” Benjamin Booker testifies, in this month’s GQ. “There aren’t any rules … you gotta go there to really get it yourself, though.”
The young punk-blues buck was talking about his suavely eclectic duds, but the Big Easy attitude extends to his brand of music, as offered robustly on his just-out debut album.
It’s real grainy-throated, wild-thing stuff, with fuzz pedals used as buzz saws and a southern-fried swamp-boogie manner influenced by the diverse likes of Blind Willie Johnson, the Gun Club and, perhaps, his label mates Alabama Shakes.
Booker, who toured with Jack White this summer, mixes heavied-up Chuck Berry riffs with retro-mod organ moves, thumping drums, grimy guitars and musings on lost sons and a slow-coming future. Like his clothing, his sound is hip but old. He went there. He got it.