The first thing you notice about Bennett Wales is that he can really belt it out. With the kind of voice a man might pawn his soul for, drenched in soulful blues and capable of a growl straight from the bowels of Hell — Wales displays a dazzling array of chops deeply informed by a back to roots approach. The closest contemporary equivalent I can think of out of hand would be something like Alabama Shakes. A decade ago I’d be making comparisons to Johnny Lang.
Wales’ vocal abilities combined with his sharp lyrical sensibilities alone would seal the deal for me, but add to that the powerful musicianship of his backing band, the Relief? It’s perfect match of raw ability and skilled workmanship. Mike Fischetti on bass, Brock Bittner on guitar, and Caleb Little behind the keyboard solidly ground this group in the best traditions of Roots Rock and no-holds-barred Blues Rock. Imagine my surprise when Drew Orton (the drummer for Demoms) pops up as the man kicking out the beat? Obviously Drew intends to be in every awesome band in the city, but I was a bit shocked to hear someone who is so associated with the hardcore scene taking a different route with this kind of music.
The entirety of this release is excellent, but “Fine When You’re Gone” especially highlights the overall tone and feel.
I’ll be making a point to catch their next live performance.