With his self-titled debut album out on Tuesday, August 19, Benjamin Booker speaks with AARON BRYANS about his unexpected rise and his life-changing journey into music.
Reporting on the music scene for his college paper, Florida’s Benjamin Booker was as close to being a live musician as any of us who sing in the shower.
Picking up a guitar in 2012, Booker had no idea that two years later, he would be signed to a record label, releasing a debut album and having performed alongside Jack White, Courtney Barnett and even on The Late Show With David Letterman.
“I didn’t really do anything before 2012,” Booker reveals. “When I was in college I wrote the music content for the college paper on books and bands, but I didn’t start playing until about 2012 and that’s the same time I started writing. It’s been a couple of years but it is still new. I started playing shows around town; just acoustic shows, and I hated doing that, so I started playing with a band in February this year. I write all the songs and then I share them with the guys and they come up with their own parts.”
2014 has been a huge year for Booker. Fresh off recording his debut album at The Bomb Shelter in Nashville, he set off on supporting tours and festival shows, taking in as much as he could, progressing musically every step of the way.
“We try to watch every band we play with and usually take some notes,” the now New Orleans-based Booker says. “If we see something good we try to put that into our shows. We did Courtney Barnett about a month ago and recently Jack White and we were there every night just watching him. “
“Supporting Courtney Barnett was really good. We had a really nice time hanging out with her whole band; I think that’s the closest we’ve been with a band on tour. I would still talk to them or hook up with them when we can. We had a really good time together. They’re about our age and we had some wild nights on tour with them. They’re fun people, really generally nice people.”
The release of Booker’s self-titled debut album through ATO Records is a dream come true; with high energy grooves and agitated riffage, the album is just the beginning of what is sure to be an incredible musical career.
“It’s really crazy,’ Booker expresses. “I recorded the songs to share with some friends. I really just wanted to have some vinyl. But a full-length album is really something…I never thought I could do it. It’s incredible and it’s amazing it’s finally happening.
“We’re going to be supporting this album for 18 more months. I have some ideas about what I want to do in the future musically but there hasn’t been any time to think about that at all. We’ve been on the road since February, hopping from town to town. Hopefully a year-and-a-half from now I’ll have some time to sit down and think about what will happen in the future.”