"I really think the live CD is great. Great voice, instruments, and production."
Rosalie Howarth, KFOG DJ
"FREE STYLIN' ACOUSTIC STYLE: Singer/songwriter Garrin Benfield bills his band as "acoustic rock." Benfield is a stellar artist with a distinctive guitar style, even his acoustic-based stuff is electric in nature. He uses lots of effects in a subtle and complex fashion that gives the music an eerie, spacey feel. Benfield has released three albums thus far, the most recent being August Live, a concert recording from his tour opening for Boz Scaggs in 2003. Bassist Joshua Zucker and drummer Russ Gold lay down some solid rhythms for Benfield¹s soaring vocals and his meandering, melodic soloing. August Live also highlights Benfield¹s finely crafted songs with tracks such as "Hungry Ghost" and the eloquent "To Know," marked by delightful harmonies. There¹s also a nice cover of Stephen Foster¹s "Hard Times." The band¹s music has a kind of Dave Matthews meets Crosby and Nash groove with Benfield showing licks as dexterous as those of the late Michael Hedges."
"The latest album and first live release of young singer/songwriter Garrin Benfield is simply titled August Live 03. This time Garrin is backed by a band made up of bassist Joshua Zucker and drummer Russ Gold. Benfield was raised in Westchester, NY but now makes his home in San Francisco, CA. The youngest of nine kids, his first major musical influence was hearing the Beatles' second album as well as Bob Dylan and CSNY.
Upon first listen I was impressed with the virtuosity of Benfield's guitar, as well as his honest and clear voice. He reminds me of David Gray on vocals and John Mayer on guitar. What sets him apart from most pop singer/songwriters is his lead guitar playing, on both acoustic and electric, which is very strong. I would classify his music as guitar-driven folk rock. Garrin and band have been touring extensively since 2000, when he released his debut, Living a Dream. Having seen him live recently I can attest to his charisma onstage--he's a striking looking young man, with the chops to back it up.
Most of the tunes on the album are originals, with a few covers thrown in. Some of the songs in this live release also appeared on his second CD, Nowhere is Brighter, which featured guest appearances by Boz Skaggs and members of Bonnie Raitt's band. This live set is a mixture of folk rock and pop tunes with pleasing vocals, insightful lyrics, and appealing guitar playing. Highlights include the catchy "Hungry Ghost," the story-song "Another Hour to Kill," the incredible hook of "Crazy Love," and a cover of the traditional "Hard Times." The buzz about Benfield is starting to build: some of these tunes have already found airplay on radio stations in San Francisco and elsewhere."
"This collection gathers gems from Benfield¹s gigs on the road with Boz Scaggs, an annual west coast event. With Benfield on the road are bassist Joshua Zucker and drummer Russ Gold, stellar musicians both. The work appeals especially to the fans of Grateful Dead influenced acoustic guitar-driven, bluegrass-tinged rock, and the band has a huge queer following. With an emphasis on intricate guitar improvs, grounded by groovy melodies and Benfield¹s soothing voice, August Live reprises familiar songs from Nowhere is Brighter. Plus, you get some of the newer songs previously heard only in Benfield¹s live shows, notably, the driving "Children Go Where I Send Thee," a rocking rendition of an old spiritual. Look for Benfield to do a Fall Release and a national tour centered around his third studio album, soon to appear."
Bay Area Reporter
"If you like dreamy folk-rockers with bedroom eyes and killer vocals then you¹ll love Garrin Benfield. This work, recorded on tour in Nevada, Arizona & California features his swordsmanship rocking out on guitar as well as his lickity chops plucking through old-school bluegrass to alt rockers and even some blues. My picks: Hungry Ghost, Children Go Where I Send Thee, Ugly & I Swear."