Saturday, January 29, 2011

Artist: Willie P. Bennett, Album: Heartstrings, Song: Last Word

"There's fights over property and wars over borders.  All started by world leaders with mental disorders.  Some say it's collusion, some say it's a sin but it's all about who's gonna get the last word in."  Willie P. Bennet was a folk singer from Toronto, Ontario.  He cut his teeth in the late sixties and seventies within the clubs and coffeehouses of Toronto.  The same circuit that spawned artists like Bruce Cockburn.  Willie released his first single in 1969 and his first full length in 1975.  He never seemed to attract the commercial success of his colleague, Bruce Cockburn, but among musicians, the man was regarded as a legend.  He  played solo and as a sideman within various bands throughout his career.  His last stint was with Fred Eaglesmith (see blog 8/3/10) as his harmonica and mandolin player.  Heartstrings was his last album released in 1998 and garnered him a Juno award for best Roots and Traditional album in 1999.  The album has a number of guest musicians such as David Wilcox, Melanie Doane, Stephen Fearing, Prairie Oyster and on the track, Last Word, his old friend Bruce Cockburn.  Sadly, Willie passed away in 2008 but his legacy seems to be attracting more and more attention.  He was inducted in to the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame last year.  Musicians, Colin Linden, Tom Wilson and Stephen Fearing started a band in the nineties called, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, as a tribute to Willie and his music.  The name comes from Willie's 1979 release.  Nonetheless, his music continues to be a very rare commodity.  Itunes only carries his 1985 release, The Lucky Ones.  There were copies of some of his early seventies material on trading close to $200.  There was one copy of Heartstrings trading on for $135.  Hopefully, someone gets around to remastering his back catalogue so that more people can discover his music.  There is one site currently that chronicles his life and you can read about him at  You can hear the song, Last Word, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!