Washington D.C. based singer/songwriter Benjy Ferree is back with his second major release, a concept album, ‘Come Back to the Five and Dime Bobby Dee Bobby Dee‘. The album is loosely based on the tragic life of Bobby Driscoll, the 1940’s and 50s Hollywood child-star who fell to the diseases of fame, acne, and drug addiction and died at age 31. Ferree and his four musical companions (two tight funky guitarists, a bluesy cellist, and a punkish straight-forward drummer) put forth a multi-layered compilation of classic Americana-sounds, track-vibes ranging from gospel harmonies to bluegrass country steel to straight thick and rich blues. Ferree provides heavy roll’n’rumbling vocals from the gut, and when he sustains his vocals, I hear a Jack White-Freddy Mercury fusion. Rather than chronologically telling the story of Driscoll’s life, the album explores the themes of troubled youth with songs like “When You’re 16.” At times, the vibe is a tad too monotonous, but for the most part Ferree’s sounds are riveting and eclectic. I’d like to see these guys live; the album carries with it a real live-performance feel. I close my eyes; one song, “Fear,” takes me to a 50s swing club, the next takes me to an early 60s minimalist art-rock show, and then I’m back home with “Big Business,” big blues.
See also: The Aquarium, The Blood Feathers, and Freddy Mercury, and Bobby Driscoll on Wikipedia