Sheldon Bennett

Swingin' Southern Guitar

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For a small label, NRC had several unusually talented guitarists on its roster. Jerry Reed, who hadn't yet developed his unique claw style, and future Sons of the Pioneers guitarist Roy Lanham both recorded for NRC in the late '50s. Sheldon Bennett, an Atlanta guitarist with a clean single-string picking style influenced by George Barnes, was also prominently featured on NRC recordings. He cut his own full-length instrumental album, Swingin' Southern Guitar, for NRC in 1959. With only drums, bass, and a rhythm guitar for accompaniment, Bennett covers a variety of musical styles, from country and light jazz to rock & roll. The album's title provides a clue to the album's concept, which is that every tune pertains in some way to the South: "Georgia on My Mind," "Stars Fell on Alabama," "Rock City Rock," etc. Bennett's hometown connection with the Atlanta-based NRC label probably got his foot in the door, but he was an experienced guitarist who had played for years in Western swing bands. This background gave him the ability to easily transition between country and jazz, as he does on this album. Fans of instrumental guitar music who enjoy Roy Lanham's NRC album Sizzlin' Strings (recorded under the name of his band, the Whippoorwills, and also available on CD) will find Swingin' Southern Guitar similarly interesting.