Talking a good game

Brendan Benson
Brendan Benson

PERHAPS better known for a stint in Jack White’s other band, The Raconteurs, Brendan Benson has nonetheless been quietly carving a solo career for years.

On his fifth album, the American singer/songwriter has the slow and steady pace which gathers and keeps fans, despite never quite reaching superstardom (unlike his bandmate, and the success of the White Stripes).

The album in question is What Kind of World, released this year and prompting a tour which brings Brendan to Glasgow’s Òran Mór.

The first single released from it last month was Bad For Me, a true to form soulful number with Benson’s trademark thoughtful and witty lyrics.

It’s a cliché to say that it’s more grown-up than his previous efforts, but then again a single from 2002’s Lapalco was called Good To Me and (leaving inverted song titles aside) the upbeat pop sound of that earlier work seems to have evolved into a rockier form.

There is, of course, more to the singer than just a few riffs of a guitar.

The chorus of No One Else But You – from the latest album – introduces a playful brass section, while On The Fence displays clear country influences from Benson’s adopted home, Nashville.

Having gone off and gotten married and had a son between this and the previous record, it’s perhaps fair to say the man has grown up.

And if it’s musical prowess you’re after, then there’s also the fact that the album received contributions from Brendan’s “musical family”: everyone from REM and Big Star’s Ken Stringfellow to Brad Pemberton, better known as one of Ryan Adams’ Cardinals.

As for Friday’s gig, the atmospheric setting of the Òran Mór seems the perfect place to get up close and personal with Brendan Benson and his wealth of work – and it’s a chance that many Glasgow fans will no doubt take.

Doors open at 7pm at the Òran Mór, and tickets cost £12, available from 357 6200, or www.oran-mor.co.uk.