The Benjy Davis Project
The Benjy Davis Project The skyrocketing Benjy Davis Project took flight in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2001. From humble origins as a folk-rock duo playing tiny clubs, today’s Benjy Davis Project has evolved into an innovative six-piece ensemble with hordes of loyal fans in the South and a burgeoning audience around America. These admirers are drawn to a sound that’s been aptly described both as "collegiate rock with a Southern influence" and "harmony-laden acoustic pop" for its eclectic blend of original material, the innocence and spontaneity of ‘60s rock, and the band’s roots in South Louisiana culture. In that vein, the Benjy Davis Project joins a distinguished roster of a half-century’s worth of nationally prominent musicians from Baton Rouge including Better Than Ezra, Johnny Rivers, John Fred and the Playboys, Buddy Guy, Slim Harpo, and Chris Thomas King (some of the band’s first gigs took place at King’s father’s club, Tabby’s Blues Box). This combination of youthful passion and rapidly-maturing skills has brought the Benjy Davis Project respect and approval from promoters who have paired them with headlining artists such as John Mayer, The Gin Blossoms, the North Mississippi All-Stars and Better Than Ezra. And now The Benjy Davis Project steps to yet a higher, headlining level of its own with the release of the group’s third album, The Angie House, on Real Records/Bogalusa Records (distributed by Select-O-Hits). The Angie House is named for the small town of Angie, Louisiana where the band lived communally while working on the album. "There’s a certain connection that we had with each other at this house," says violinist/mandolinist Anthony Rushing, "that we can’t find anywhere else." Such rural isolation was clearly inspirational, as evidenced by the results: The Angie House is an ambitious leap forward to a sound that’s bigger, more creative and fully realized, while also maintaining a live, organic feel. "I wrote the songs on The Angie House between eighth grade and today," says the twenty-one year-old Davis, whose insightful sophistication belies his tender years. The subject matter, grooves, and instrumental settings all vary widely. "Soul on Fire" pays homage to such rock icons as John Lennon, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Jimi Hendrix, and is showcased in what bassist Brett Bolden calls "a mellow saunter." "Mighty Arenal" references a Costa Rican volcano as a metaphor for life’s impermanence, while "Blame It On The Devil" references a lover’s quarrel, and "Do It With The Lights On" examines what Davis frankly describes as his "awkward porn phase." "Crimson Glow," a reflection on mortality, takes the band into previously uncharted hard-rocking territory with diverse finesse.The Angie House reflects both Davis’ continued growth as a songwriter and the artful arranging skills of his band mates -- Brett Bolden, Michael Galasso, Jonathan Lawhun, Anthony Rushing, and Mic Capdevielle -- who crafted the final form for Davis’ fine songs. Mixed by John Alagia, whose credits include The Dave Matthews Band’s Busted Stuff and John Mayer’s Room For Squares, The Angie House was co-produced by the band and the legendary Gene Foster, at Studio In The Country in Bogalusa, Louisiana, some seventy miles northeast of New Orleans. Over the years, this famed facility has also hosted Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder, the Neville Brothers, Clifton Chenier, Blues Traveler, and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. Brown, himself, makes a guest-guitarist appearance on The Angie House on "She Ain’t Got Love." "I don't know if I can play on this wild ass music," Gate said, with characteristic bluntness, on first meeting the band -- but, of course, he fits right in.It’s precisely that level of comfort between deep tradition and a keen futuristic cutting edge that makes The Angie House such a significant accomplishment. With its release, the Benjy Davis Project defines the new face of Southern rock.