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If you ever form a band, you'll be very lucky to find a collaborator like Benmont Tench. You may know him as the consummate sideman, keyboardist and co-founder of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Or as a renowned session musician who has played with Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and dozens of other artists. However, he also shines bright when the spotlight falls on him. On his new solo debut, You Should Be So Lucky, all the qualities that make Tench the player everyone wants on their albums are represented in great measure.
Tench doesn't seem to relish leaping to center stage. You Should Be So Lucky is all about the songs, all but two of which are original compositions. Tench's voice is like a whisper that makes you want to lean in to hear more — but the melodies stick in your mind, and the canny groove and crescendos of the songs pull you right into his world.
The musician took a harmonious approach to choosing his collaborators, doling out session work to friends and colleagues whom he'd played with or admired, including Ringo Starr on tambourine.
From syncopated pop to garage-inflected rock to atmospheric instrumental excursions, Tench's album feels like pages torn from a journal that's recorded a remarkable life and an exceptional talent. These songs, written over the course of his entire professional career, show Tench as musician and storyteller, as the observer and the observed, as a sideman and, if not frontman, then certainly ringleader.