Witness

Witness

by Benjamin Booker

CD

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Overview

On his eponymous 2014 debut, Benjamin Booker roared and wailed, reveling in his debt to the garage-blues popularized by Jack White, but he's come a long way in the three years separating Benjamin Booker and its follow-up, Witness. Booker made a pilgrimage to Mexico in 2016, deciding that he needed a jolt of inspiration for his second album and, while he was there, he began to process the protests fueled by the rise of Black Lives Matters. Separated from his home country, he viewed himself as a spectator to what was happening in the U.S. and, combined with how his own ethnicity was accepted in Mexico, it inspired him to write the incendiary Witness. His personal embrace of the political galvanizes the album, which has a sense of purpose lacking on his debut, but what's truly startling upon first listen is how Booker's broadened his palette considerably. Blues remains his foundation and he can still indulge in squalls of noise, but there's a heavy soul vibe here and, crucially, Booker is embracing modern production. That much is clear from the way "Right on You" opens with burbling electronics before descending into a rocking riff that grooves harder than anything on his debut. Witness is filled with these kinds of left turns, ranging from the folk-soul of "Motivation" and the old-fashioned Southern soul of "Believe" to the psychedelic thrum of "Truth Is Heavy." This aural variety alone would make Witness an exciting record, but when these sounds are paired with probing political and personal songs, the album becomes something fresh and vital.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/02/2017
Label: Ato Records
UPC: 0880882296926
catalogNumber: 229692
Rank: 63713

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Benjamin Booker   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
David Christian   Drums
Mavis Staples   Vocals
Mark Rivers   Background Vocals
Alecia Chakour   Background Vocals
D. James Goodwin   Drums
Sam Cohen   Bass,Guitar,Drums,Keyboards
Lauren Balthrop   Background Vocals
Hannah Cohen   Background Vocals
Brian Betancourt   Bass
Oliver Hill   Violin
Sam Quiggins   Cello
Jasmine Muhammad   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Steve Weeder   Engineer
D. James Goodwin   Engineer
Sam Cohen   Composer,Producer
Rob Carmichael   Art Direction
Benjamin Booker   Composer,Art Direction

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