Benjamin Booker. Wow. Done. End of review. It’s not enough to just pick a song or two off this new project Witness from Benjamin Booker. It’s an album that I found myself continuously going back to, putting on in the background, showing to my friends, and singing in the shower like I’m looking for the freakin golden ticket to Hollywood on American Idol. I was discovering songs I was impressed with so early in the album, I thought it would eventually become repetitious. I was wrong. Every song is a pleasant surprise. Mr. Booker has blessed us with a wide range of music here.
Witness starts out with an absolute jammer, “Right on You” coming from low droning noise until Booker’s soulful growl tears through his garage rock guitar. The title of the song describes it perfectly, right on you. It’s a rowdy, beer can throwing song to kick off this multi-faceted album.
The second song on the album, “Motivation,” blends right from the end of track one with raw acoustic and Booker singing in a light feathery almost falsetto tone. It’s a breather from the riotous beginning to the album. The tone reminds me of a classic Jack Johnson groove and it’s a total ear-worm. It’s one of those songs you need only hear once to earn its place on your summer jam playlist. This was one of my favorite songs on the album (aka the one I’m singing in the shower). The bass kicks in as if Bootsie Collins himself had his magical fingers dancing down the strings. The self-reflection on the song is as evident as it is throughout the rest of the album.
“You can have anything you want. All you need is a little motivation.”
Booker not only sings it but you can tell in his voice that he believes it. That feeling he’s able to convey throughout the music is really what makes this album so wonderful.
Throughout, Witness I couldn’t help but feel like I was listening to something legendary. The man has the voice of Otis Redding, most discernible on the song “Believe,” and musicianship as if he’s been shredding for ages like on, “Off the Ground.” Booker’s album has a little flavor from all over but if you like artists like, Gary Clark Jr, The Black Keys, or Black Joe Lewis, you’ll find that soulful rock vibe here.
Benjamin upholds positive themes throughout the album and you can envision he isn’t just trying to write tunes here. This is an album about finding who you are and title track, Witness brings you more of it with a gospel soulful feel. A choir shouting, “Am I going to be a witness?” almost reminding you that while listening, in my opinion, you’re witnessing only the tip of the iceberg. It’s deep and deserves multiple listens through. I found myself adding much of the album to my playlist.
The album ends in the same way it started, with a fast-paced chant, “If I have my way, I’ll tear this building down,” Booker howls on the final track, “All Was Well.” It’s a short farewell track to end the album which was not so long and at the very end, it’s almost a bittersweet goodbye. Until you start again from the beginning, which I’m sure most of you will.
My favorite songs on the album; “Motivation”, “Believe”, “Truth is Heavy”, and “Right On You”. Although as I continuously listen, I seem to be learning the words to all of them. I would recommend listening to this album from beginning to end. The songs are awesome standing alone but the album as a whole was really sweet. I say put it on repeat.