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Cajun Connection

Swamp-blues legend sticks up for his native Louisiana. Guar-on-teed.

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Tab Benoit won't just represent Louisiana's bayou blues during his Cleveland concert tonight; he'll symbolize the whole dang state. Since his humble beginnings there, the 41-year-old Baton Rouge native has spoken up for the state's music, culture, and environment on projects like his Grammy-nominated album, Power of the Pontchartrain. He also produced the IMAX doc Hurricane on the Bayou, which benefitted his eco-friendly group Save the Wetlands. In the studio, the guitarist-singer relies on improvisation to capture the region's bluesy vibe. "It's not pop music, where it has to sound a certain way before it gets on MTV or the radio," says Benoit. "Blues and roots music is more about the emotion than the polish."While the music pimps Louisiana, Benoit still wishes more fans would take his message to heart. "The government portrays New Orleans as a disposable city. We're almost three years after Hurricane Katrina, and they've done nothing," says Benoit. "It hurts when you see people act like the culture doesn't exist. And if it does, it doesn't matter." Listen up at 9 tonight at Wilbert's, 812 Huron Road East. Call 216-902-4663 or visit www.wilbertsmusic.com.
Sun., March 30, 9 p.m., 2008

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