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Brendan Benson embraces new paths in life, music

of the Oakland Press

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These are times of change for Brendan Benson, both personally and musically.

The Detroit-born singer and songwriter, a solo artist as well as a member of the Raconteurs, and his wife Brittany welcomed their first child, son Declan, in April. And now Benson is on the road, continuing to promote his latest album, 2009’s “My Old, Familiar Friend,” but also being backed by his touring partners, Seattle rockers the Posies.

Benson, who currently resides in Nashville, says fatherhood, so far, has been smooth sailing. “I’m sleeping fine,” he reports. “We’ve just incorporated him into our lives instead of just changing everything. But I still can’t pack a diaper bag to save my life.”

And he’s anticipating a similarly smooth ride with the Posies, who Benson met when he played at a memorial show for Alex Chilton in Memphis earlier this year and sat in with Big Star, which also includes Posies principles Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow.

“It was great, man, just a blast,” says Benson, 39. “Those guys are super cool, really nice people and incredible musicians. It felt very natural and easy, so I think doing (more together) will be a good match.”

And while he didn’t know much about the Posies before, Benson says that preparing to work with them, and listening to “Blood/Candy” — their first album in five years — has made him a fan.

“When I knew we were going to tour together, I thought I should listen to their record and maybe we’d have something to talk about,” Benson says with a laugh. “And it’s really, really cool. I was like, ‘My God, this is ... great!’ Their songs are amazing. So now I’m doubly excited to be playing with them.”

Though the Raconteurs — which also features the White Stripes’ Jack White and members of the Greenhornes — are currently on ice, Benson is giving birth to a couple of other musical projects. He and Mark Watrous of Gosling and Loudermilk are working together as Well & Goode; they’ve released a single and are now talking about a full-scale album.

“We both want to do one,” Benson notes, “but right now I guess we’re too busy. But I’ve got hundreds of ideas, unfinished ideas, and if Mark can finish them ... He just gets them and comes up with something and sings it back to me, and then I’m inspired again. So hopefully that process will get us to do more songs.”

Meanwhile, Benson is scoping out a February or March start for his fifth solo album, which he’ll likely record at Ben Folds’ studio in Nashville. “I have material, but the most recent thing was before Declan was born, so that’s like six months ago,” he says. “So I want to take some time and write some newer stuff. I’m tired of making records of old songs, so I think I’ll take Christmas and January and February and try to write something fresh that I can be excited about.”

Brendan Benson and the Posies, with Aqueduct, perform Tuesday, Nov. 9, at the Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.majesticdetroit.com

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