Willie P. Bennett

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Willie P. Bennett
Bennett 2006.jpg
Willie P. Bennett at the Roots of Heaven festival at Patronaat in Haarlem, Netherlands (2006)
Background information
Birth name William Patrick Bennett
Born (1951-10-26)26 October 1951
Toronto, Ontario
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died 15 February 2008(2008-02-15) (aged 56)
Peterborough, Ontario
Genres Folk, Country, Alternative Country, Bluegrass
Occupations singer/songwriter, mandolinist, harmonica player
Years active 1971–2007
Labels Woodshed, Duke Street, BNatural, independent.
Associated acts Fred Eaglesmith, Dixie Flyers
Website http://www.williepbennett.com

William Patrick "Willie P." Bennett (26 October 1951 – 15 February 2008) was a Canadian folk-music singer and song writer, harmonica player, and mandolinist.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Toronto, Bennett was part of the 1970s folk music scene in Canada, alongside such figures as Bruce Cockburn, Stan Rogers and David Wiffen. He released his first single ("White Lines") in 1969, and his final solo album (the Juno Award-winning Heartstrings) in 1998.

While commonly regarded as a major talent, Bennett did not become as famous as his contemporaries until 1996 when Stephen Fearing, Colin Linden and Tom Wilson formed Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, a supergroup named for Bennett's 1978 album, and recorded a tribute album featuring Bennett's songs. Bennett's first subsequent album of new material, Heartstrings, won a 1999 Juno Award for Best Roots & Traditional Album – Solo. On 10 September 2010 in Edmonton Alberta, Willie was officially inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame during the Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMAs). The award was accepted by his mother, sister and nephew.

While Bennett was highly regarded as a songwriter and solo performer, early in his career he formed and fronted the newgrass group Bone China Band, touring through Ontario. Throughout his career, he kept busy as a sideman in bands fronted by other artists. From 1974 to 1979 he toured and recorded with the Dixie Flyers, playing harmonica. Bennett also played harmonica live and on recordings with Joe Hall, Doug McArthur, Sneezy Waters and several other pop and country artists. In the early 1990s, Bennett was a member of Toronto-based Pat Temple's band "The High Lonesome Players", playing live and appearing on their 1991 album Connecting Lines. In 1991 he joined Fred Eaglesmith's band ("The Flying Squirrels"), with whom he toured and recorded, playing chiefly mandolin and harmonica and singing backup vocals, also serving as road manager, until shortly before his death. During a 2007 Victoria Day weekend concert in Midland, Ontario, he suffered an on-stage heart attack – which he played through but which forced him to stop touring.

He died of a heart attack on 15 February 2008, at his home in Peterborough, Ontario.[1] At the time of his death, he was recording an album and was planning on re-joining Fred Eaglesmith on tour. His sister inherited his music rights. [2]

Awards and Tributes[edit]

Bennett co-wrote the song "Goodbye, So Long, Hello" with Russell deCarle. The song was recorded by deCarle's band Prairie Oyster, released as a single, and named the 1990 Song of the Year by the Canadian Country Music Association.[3]

In 2010, Bennett was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Association's Canadian Country Music Hall of Honour.[3]

David Essig, producer of Bennett's first two albums, paid tribute to him in the song "Willie P", released on the 2009 album Double Vision (with Rick Scott). Canadian country singer Corb Lund wrote a song for Bennett on his 2009 album Losin' Lately Gambler, entitled "It's Hard to Keep a White Shirt Clean".

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year Single CAN Country Album
1969 White Lines Single only
1989 The Lucky Ones / Ain't Got No Notion 19 The Lucky Ones
Train Tracks / Goodbye So Long Hello

Albums[edit]

Year Album Label
1975 Tryin' to Start Out Clean
1977 Hobo's Taunt
1979 Blackie and the Rodeo King
1985 The Lucky Ones
1991 Collectibles (Anthology)
1993 Take My Own Advice
1998 Heartstrings

Other Contributions[edit]

Year Album Artist Label Details
1975 Light Medium Heavy The Dixie Flyers Boot Records Harmonica, band member
1975 Collage Various Artists Bytown BFFTF 1 Incls "White Line" from Tryin' to Start Out Clean
1976 Cheaper To Lease The Dixie Flyers Boot Records BBG 6002 Harmonica, band member
1976 Sisteron Doug McArthur
1977 Larger Than Life Denis Lepage Boot Records BBG6001 Lead vocal & additional lyrics, "John Henry, The Gambler"; Harmonica
1977 Just Pickin The Dixie Flyers Boot Records BBG 6004 Harmonica, band member
1978 For Our Friends The Dixie Flyers Boot Records Harmonica, band member
1979 Five By Five The Dixie Flyers Boot Records Harmonica, band member
1979 Denis Lepage & Station Road Denis Lepage & Station Road Boot Records BBG 6005 Harmonica
1979 Live at the Nervous Breakdown Various Artists "Has Anyone Seen My Baby Here Tonight" (live), with Mendelson Joe (mislabeled "Storm Clouds" on LP cover)
197? It's High Time Coyote Harmonica
197? Musician At Large Richard Knechtel Harmonica
1981 Sings Hank Williams Sneezy Waters Sawdust Records, Borealis Records (1999 CD release) Harmonica
1987 Indiana Road Fred Eaglesmith Mandolin, harmonica, backing vocals, band member
1990 Different Kind of Fire Prairie Oyster Co-wrote "Goodbye, So Long, Hello" with Russel deCarle
1991 There Ain't No Easy Road Fred Eaglesmith Mandolin, harmonica, backing vocals, band member
1991 Connecting Lines Pat Temple & His High Lonesome Players Harmonica, band member
1993 Drinking With The Poet Scott B. Sympathy Smokeshow Records FPD 3121 Harmonica
1993 Things Is Changin' Fred Eaglesmith Mandolin, harmonica, backing vocals, band member
1994 From The Paradise Motel (live) Fred Eaglesmith Barbed Wire Records BWR2001 Mandolin, harmonica, harmony vocals, band member
1995 Drive-In Movie Fred Eaglesmith Mandolin, harmonica, backing vocals, band member
1996 High or Hurtin Blackie & The Rodeo Kings True North TNSD 0115 Vocals, harmony vocals, harmonica, mandolin
1996 Slightly Haunted Lynn Miles Philo Mandolin, harmonica
1996 She & She & She Bird Sisters Bird Sisters Harmonica
1997 Blue Plate Special Prairie Oyster Velvel
1997 Flying Jenny Linda MacRae Stony Plain Harmonica
1997 Lipstick, Lies and Gasoline Fred Eaglesmith Razor & Tie Mandolin, electric mandolin, harmonica, harmony vocals, band member
1998 Painter Passing Through Gordon Lightfoot Reprise Harmonica
1998 Industrial Lullaby Stephen Fearing Red House Harmonica
1999 Festival to Go: All Canadian Sampler Vol. 2 Various Artists Festival Distribution FDI 003 Includes "Restless Wind" from Heartstrings
1999 50 Odd Dollars Fred Eaglesmith Razor & Tie Mandolin, harmonica, harmony vocals, band member
2000 Rough But Honest Miner Richard Wright Winter Quarters Press Harmonica (Member of "Wake Up Jacob Band")
2001 Ralph's Last Show (Live) Fred Eaglesmith Mandolin, harmonica, backing vocals, band member
2001 Walk On Terry Tufts Borealis Harmonica, Jew's harp
2002 Falling Stars and Broken Hearts Fred Eaglesmith Mandolin, harmonica, backing vocals, band member
2003 Bailin Fred Eaglesmith AML Records Mandolin, harmonica, harmony vocals, band member
2003 The Official Bootleg Series, Vol. 2 (Live) Fred Eaglesmith Mandolin, harmonica, backing vocals, band member
2003 Dirty Rotten Shame Stephen Hogg
2003 Just A Songwriter Kenny Butterill No Bull Songs Mandolin
2005 Roger Marin Jr Roger Marin Jr Co-wrote "It Breaks My Heart" with Roger Marin Jr.
2006 Milly's Cafe Fred Eaglesmith Mandolin, harmonica, backing vocals, band member
2006 I'm A Mountain Sarah Harmer Cold Snap Records :, Zoë Records Harmonica
2007 Lovers Find Reasons Lindsay Jane
2007 Anywhere Paul O'Toole Mandolin on "Creepy Coated Love Song"
2007 Redneck Lullaby J.P. Riemens & the Bar Flies Songhamer Harmonica on "Indian Girl", "Small Town Inertia", backup vocals "Redneck Lullaby"
2008 Tinderbox Fred Eaglesmith Mandolin, harmonica, backing vocals, band member

Cover Versions[edit]

Song Artist Album Year
Andrew's Waltz Blackie & The Rodeo Kings Kings of Love 1999
Blackie & The Rodeo King Blackie & The Rodeo Kings High or Hurtin' 1996
Come On Train Blackie & The Rodeo Kings High or Hurtin' 1996
Country Squall Blackie & The Rodeo Kings High or Hurtin' 1996
Don't Have Much to Say Sneezy Waters You've Got Sawdust on the Floor of Your Heart 1978
Driftin' Snow Blackie & The Rodeo Kings High or Hurtin' 1996
Faces Blackie & The Rodeo Kings High or Hurtin' 1996
For the Sake of a Dollar Blackie & The Rodeo Kings with Russell deCarle High or Hurtin' 1996
Goodbye, So Long, Hello Prairie Oyster Different Kind of Fire 1990
Has Anyone Seen My Baby Here Tonight Blackie & The Rodeo Kings High or Hurtin' 1996
If You Have to Choose Blackie & The Rodeo Kings Kings of Love 1999
Job Disorder Scott B. Sympathy Neil Young Street 1990
Blackie & The Rodeo Kings High or Hurtin' 1996
Lace and Pretty Flowers Blackie & The Rodeo Kings High or Hurtin' 1996
Sneezy Waters You've Got Sawdust on the Floor of Your Heart 1978
Music in Your Eyes Colleen Peterson Beginning to Feel Like Home 1973
Garnet Rogers Garnet Rogers 1984
Blackie & The Rodeo Kings High or Hurtin' 1996
Stan Rogers From Coffee House to Concert Hall 1999
Patience of a Working Man Blackie & The Rodeo Kings Kings of Love 1999
Rains On Me Blackie & The Rodeo Kings High or Hurtin' 1996
Red Dress Blackie & The Rodeo Kings Kings of Love 1999
Stealin' Away Colleen Peterson Coleen 1977
Blackie & The Rodeo Kings High or Hurtin' 1996
Step Away Blackie & The Rodeo Kings with Emmylou Harris Kings & Queens 2011
The Lucky Ones Blackie & The Rodeo Kings Kings of Love 1999
This Lonesome Feelin' Denis Lepage & Station Road At The Cowboy Arms Hotel 1980
Tryin' to Start Out Clean Colleen Peterson Coleen 1977
Turnkey Blackie & The Rodeo Kings High or Hurtin' 1996
White Line Blackie & The Rodeo Kings High or Hurtin' 1996
Billie Hughes Horton, Bates & Best – The Last Catch 1981
David Wiffen Coast to Coast Fever 1973
John Starling Long Time Gone 1993
Jonathan Edwards Rockin' Chair 1975
Peter Pringle Peter Pringle 1976
Pure Prairie League Can't Hold Back 1979
The Seldom Scene Live at the Cellar Door 1974
Blackie & The Rodeo Kings Swinging from the Chains of Love 2008
Willie's Diamond Joe Blackie & The Rodeo Kings Bark 2003
Matt Andersen Coal Mining Blues 2011

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Canadian folk singer Willie P. Bennett dead". Canwest News Service. 21 February 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  2. ^ Quill, Greg (18 February 2008). "Willie P. Bennett, 57: A '70s folk pioneer". Toronto Star. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Willie P. Bennett". CCMA Hall of Fame. Canadian Country Music Association. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 

External links[edit]