Way down in the heart of steamy South Louisiana there’s a run-down shotgun-style, brick building where magic is known to happen on any given night. Many of the town’s people don’t venture into the area, but those who do, order from a hand written menu containing such misspelled delicacies as “hot sawsage poboys” and “fried swimps”. After a good, greasy meal, they are treated to the most authentic blues around. It’s here at Tabby’s Blues Box and Heritage Hall in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where Tab Benoit played to gain acceptance among the true blues fans and players of the down and dirty genre, while earning the customary thirteen dollars a night. “We weren’t allowed to bring in our own equipment”, Tab recalls. “We always just made do with what was there… that’s the Blues Box way.” Tab has fond memories of the leaky roof, the outdated PA system (a 1970’s bass amplifier), and the appreciative crowd; a mixture of LSU students and neighborhood regulars. But mostly, he remembers a piece of advice from Tabby Thomas, the club’s proprietor, who told him, “If you play the blues, you’ll always have a job.”
Tab has taken Tabby’s advice to heart, maintaining his blues roots while hitting the road–hard. For the past several years he’s been performing his own brand of cajun rock ‘n blues, night after night, while watching the size of his audience steadily increase. This grueling tour schedule has paid off, as he now plays for standing room only crowds across the country, from major music cities to small town blues bars.
Tab also struck a deep chord in the television industry, getting several songs placed in prime time shows including “Northern Exposure”, “Melrose Place”, and “Party of Five”. Even the most watched show in the world, “Baywatch”, chose Tab to perform (this time on camera) on the premier episode of the spin-off series, “Baywatch Nights”. Other artists featured on the show include Buddy Guy, B. B. King, and Robert Cray. Even though Tab has been compared to some of the greatest bluesmen and guitarists of all time, he doesn’t aspire to be the “next” anybody. But there’s one thing he does know…he’ll always have a job. That’s the Blues Box way.