Monday, February 18, 2008

Fred Eaglesmith sideman Willie P Bennett dies

Singer-songwriter 'made you feel he was on a spiritual and artistic search'

Charles Enman, The Ottawa Citizen

Published: Monday, February 18, 2008

Folksinger Willie P. Bennett was a Juno Award winner and one of Canada's finest writers of folksongs.

He began his career back in the 70s, and though he never achieved renown commensurate with his talent, aficionados have long ranked him with Bruce Cockburn and Murray McLauchlan as seminal influences on folk music in this country.

His songs, which blended country, blues and folk music, were often covered by other artists.

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Back in 1995, Colin Linden, Tom Wilson and Stephen Fearing, well established Toronto performers all influenced by Bennett, formed a kind of Bennett cover band (Blackie and the Rodeo Kings) named after one of the songwriter's better known songs.

Other famous Bennett songs included Music in Your Eyes, Down to the Water, and Come on Train.

Since 1995, he had been a mandolin and harmonica sideman in Fred Eaglesmith's band, The Flying Squirrels.

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