Born in Toronto, Bennett was part of Canada’s 1970s folk music scene alongside such figures as Bruce Cockburn, Stan Rogers and David Wiffen. He released his first single, “White Line,” in 1969 and his final solo album Heartstrings in 1998, which subsequently won a 1999 Juno Award for Best Roots and Traditional Album – Solo.
Bennett joined Fred Eaglesmith’s band and toured the world as Easglesmith’s sideman on mandolin, harmonica and background vocals.
In 2007, Bennett suffered a heart attack on stage. Although he finished the show, he had to leave touring for several months. As he was preparing to head back on the road for a solo tour around Ontario, Bennett suffered a fatal heart attack on February 15th, 2008.
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, named after Bennett’s 1978 album. Together, the supergroup recorded a tribute album featuring Bennett’s songs. On September 10th, 2010 in Edmonton, Alberta, Bennett was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame during the Canadian Country Music Awards.
Join Allison Brown, Russell deCarle, New Cumberland, Barry James Payne, Tannis Slimmon, Rick Taylor & Tom Wilson as we celebrate the life & music of Willie P. Bennett.
Tom Wilson is the best selling author of Beautiful Scars as well as a three-time Juno winning Canadian musician with multiple gold records.
He has written for and recorded songs with Sarah McLachlan, City and Colour, Jason Isbell, Colin James, Lucinda Williams, Billy Ray Cyrus, Mavis Staples and The Rankin Family.
His band Junkhouse has scored eleven top-ten hits, and his iconic, Americana-fuelled Blackie and the Rodeo Kings was widely publicized for its presence on George Bush’s iPod.
Allison Brown’s sweet, powerful singing offers a captivating invitation to follow her down lonesome railroad lines, into abandoned buildings, and back in time as she illustrates landscapes both strange and familiar with her newest collection of songs.
Known for her genuine warmth and rare vocal talent, Canadian singer-songwriter Tannis Slimmon has been a valued member of the folk music scene in Canada and internationally for over 30 years.
Rick Taylor made his first major appearance as a singer, songwriter and guitarist at the famed Mariposa Folk Festival in 1971 and went on to become a regular at many Canadian festivals and clubs.
Canadiana / Americana best describes the music of Canadian singer-songwriter Barry James Payne. As a mix of folk, blues, country, rock and other contemporary and traditional elements, his style is hard to pin-point.