Posted by tklassen on Monday, February 18, 2008
It is with heartfelt sorrow that I write that Canadian music singer-songwriter Willie P. Bennett is dead at 57 when he passed away on February 15 at his home in Pterborough, Ontario. Willie's songs have been recorded by Canadians Stan and Garnet Rogers, Prairie Oyster, and Colleen Peterson. His song White Line was recorded by the Seldom Scene and released on the Live at the Cellar Door album
I first saw Willie when he was playing harmonica with the Dixie Flyers in their Canadian heyday . They had a gig touring local Libraries in Ontario and it was my first chance to see a live bluegrass band. This was somewhere around 1978, almost thirty years ago. Willie's harmonica filled in all the fiddle parts. He was awesome in the eyes of an aspiring bluegrass banjo player seeing his first live bluegrass band.
Years latter I had a long conversation with Willie in the basement of the local church auditorium. We were the opening act for Fred Eaglesmith with whom he was playing mandolin and harmonica. He was warming up on his mandolin playing Bach's Jesu Joy of Man's Desire, funny how I can remember that. We had a long conversation about music, banjo players, bluegrass, and song writing. He made an impression on me with his candid, personal and approachable ways to life and music.
Standing by a midnight highway
'scuze me sir you going my way
On and on the endless white line goes
You know that could have been me you're listening to on the radio
I could be warm inside of someplace
Instead of standing here in the snow
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