Soul Dogs: Plugged In! 

Junction's Owner Blends Coffee and Tunes in Perfect Harmony with Brand-New Sound 

by James E. Fowler
L.A. Times Staff Writer
Sharon Benson, owner of the Coffee Junction in Tarzana, is feeling pretty good these days. She's in
love - with her coffeehouse and with playing in her new band, Soul Dogs
So, you can expect her to be practically out of her mind with happiness when the Soul Dogs perform at the coffee junction this Saturday.
"Every night I say, 'Thank you store ; I love you store.'" said singer - songwriter Benson. "Beside being a coffee junkie, I'm also a music junkie."
Benson and her partner, Linda Sherlin, have owned Coffee Junction for more than seven years.
Owning a club was a longtime dream of the two. When they first moved to Los Angeles in the 1970's, they were regular visitors to the Blah Blah Cafe in North Hollywood. In those days, jazz singer Al Jarreau played there almost every weekend, and other artists such as Joni Mitchell would drop in for an occasional set.
Benson said She and Sherlin made a promise : "One day we will have our own little Blah Blah Cafe."
And when the opportunity presented itself a few years later, Benson, who previously worked in the medical and entertainment fields, jumped at her chance.
"Our families told us not to : 'You're crazy; you'll lose your money; You don't know what you're doing.'" Benson said. Regardless, Benson and Sherlin went ahead, guided only by their love of music and coffee.
"Being a musician, I feel honored that I have a place where I get to really get my musical rocks off," Benson said.
Benson's previous band, the all female Token Angel, went the way of most bands in Los Angeles - that is, it broke up due to creative differences. Soul Dogs features Benson and two men, Jesse Wright and Lewis Wolfe, each of whom has taken up a new instrument.
Benson, who started playing the violin when she was eight, started playing guitar just over a year ago. Drummer Wright was until recently a guitarist, and bassist Wolfe was a sound engineer.
You wouldn't guess it to listen to them. They more than make up for any technical deficiencies with creativity and energy. Plus, Benson is a fine singer who writes interesting, well crafted tunes.
"I'm finally able to play what I'm feeling", Benson said. "Before I was always settling for less".
"I finally can have it my way and feel really good and complete about it".
Benson said the Soul Dogs' style of music is different as well.
"Token Angel was acoustic, more laid back," Benson said. "This music's more energetic; it makes you want to get up and dance."
Los Angeles Times Calendar Section - March 5 1998
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