With an acoustic or homemade cigar-box guitar and a drumkit played by using both feet on a four-pedal attachment, Ben Prestage kicks up a gritty folk-blues storm. The Florida-born bluesman honed his skills as a one-man band working on Memphis’s famous Beale Street, sharing a spot out-front of the New Daisy Theatre with Fat Possum recording artist Robert Belfour, and touring coast-to-coast before ending up back on home turf at Pineapple Willy’s for his fifth solo release. This is a robust live set spanning 27 songs over two CDs that mixes finger-blistering originals; ballsy readings of traditional country blues songs about killin’, cheatin’, and lovin’ laid down by the likes of Robert Johnson (“32-20 Blues”), Mississippi John Hurt (“Candyman”), and Reverend Gary Davis (“Death Don’t Have No Mercy”); and crowd-pleasing covers of Johnny Cash’s “Cocaine Blues” and the Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil”. This is one guitar-slinger that don’t need no beatbox.
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