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CD REVIEW: Benjamin Dehart - Takin' Another Crack At It
By JJ Biener - 06/26/2006 - 07:48 PM EDT

Artist: Benjamin Dehart
Album: Takin' Another Crack At It
CD Review: If you have read the introduction to these reviews, you know that I have a penchant for unusual music. I especially like music that transcends genre. I think I have found a quintessential example in the person of Benjamin Dehart. He is an operatic tenor who writes and sings cowboy songs. I love opera, and I have to admit that cowboy songs are a long-time guilty pleasure of mine. Marty Robbins, Sons of the Pioneers, yeah, I am sucker for a good cowboy song. Ben Dehart sings good cowboy songs.

Takiní Another Crack at It is Benís second release. The title is a reference to the fact that he calls himself The Cracker Tenor. He even has this written on the side of his car. In this case the term Cracker refers to the fact Ben is a Floridian. This would be a good time to let you know, in the interest of full disclosure, that I have met Ben and we have some friends in common. From that I can tell you, he is the real thing. He has the voice of Pavarotti and the heart of a cowboy.

Beyond the voice, Ben has the songwriting chops to go with it. The opening song is Grey Cow Cavalry and it sets the tone for the rest of the CD. It is the story of a group of cowboys who worked for the Confederacy during the Civil War. The song has strong lyrics and a melody that sticks with you. More than once I have found myself humming this song.

The next song is All I Really Ever Wanted To Be Was A Cowboy. While I have never really wanted to be a cowboy, I can relate to spirit of this song. I think most people have dreams and passions that have remained unfulfilled, and I am no different. We find ourselves in situations our 18-year-old selves never imagined This song speaks directly to that part of ourselves we have compromised to survive in the real world. In this case the profession was changed to protect the innocent.

Cracker Cowman is a lament for the lost history of Florida and life the old-time cowmen. While many of the names of the past have been preserved in the names of cities, counties and streets, the association they have with the real people who were a part of Floridaís past have been lost for many residents of the Sunshine state. This song brings them back into our collective consciousness.

Benjamin Dehartís Takiní Another Crack At It is a must for anyone who shares my love of cowboy songs. It is for anyone who appreciates well-written folk songs performed well by a talented singer-songwriter. If you want more information about Ben, check out his website at www.thecrackertenor.com.



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