Monday, December 15, 2008
What they lack in subtlety they have in enthusiasm. The leads of Ball and Chain, Michael Ball and Jody Benjamin (shown from a 2003 CD release) have Cajun-ized their Ottawa community and beyond.
After not getting around to writing up a promised review of their live at the bayou CD, I rechecked them. Their main website has been static for two years, including tour dates. I figured I had totally missed my chance.
They seem to have left that old site in favor of the trendier MySpace version. That has four full tunes to hear, but not download.
The CD Baby sales site for live at the bayou and for Trouble All The Time have multiple short, incomplete clips.
Like Cajun and zydeco or not, you have to admit that these are folk who have terrific fun with their music. They've made a living of it up where there are no bayous and where Cajuns were a forced export from the Atlantic end of the country a long time ago.
As most reviewers already note, there's a lot of Hank Williams in Benjamin's twangy renditions. Ball comes on mostly with the hyperactive fiddle. This is much more my wife's style of music than mine, but I could do an evening at a club with them on stage quite happily. Moreover, Williams was hard to look at and I rather doubt he ever wore a skirt with flounces, much less twirled it while he sang.
By the bye, Ball and Chain has four shows coming up in Ottawa in the early part of 2009.