by carl wilson

Goodnight, Willie P

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Now we would all like to close our eyes
And lick the snow as it goes by
Feel it in our faces, hold a hand full of aces
And be the winner when it comes time for us to die

- "Me and Molly," by Willie P Bennett, 1951-2008

I was shocked and saddened to read the news tonight that Willie P. Bennett has passed away at the much too early age of 56. Bennett was a beloved mainstay of the Canadian folk-music circuit - I first saw him in festivals like Hamilton's Festival of Friends when I was a teenager - and a respected songwriter, paid frequent tribute by his peers, notably by the group Blackie and the Rodeo Kings (named for one of the Bennett songs they covered), but many others as well. I most often got to see Bennett play guitar and harmonica as a member of Fred Eaglesmith's band, where he was always a dynamic but (in contrast to the frontman's brash energy) modest presence. Bennett suffered a heart attack last year, and despite many optimistic predictions for his full recovery, it apparently wasn't to be. Those who want to write to his family can find addresses on Bennett's website. My deepest sympathies and best wishes to the people coping with this very sad loss.

General | Posted by zoilus on Sunday, February 17 at 11:42 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (4)

 

COMMENTS

Willie P. contributed one of the most sensitive, and inspiring harmonica solos I've ever heard on an unreleased track by Mendelson Joe (My Baby's Asleep). Sure made an unforgettable impact on me.

Posted by mdtoronto on February 28, 2008 11:45 PM

 

 

The best side man in the world is now the best out of it....

Oh Willie.

Miss you, brother.

Posted by jackscrow on February 18, 2008 2:42 PM

 

 

The passing of Willie P. is a sad news. A true legend of southern Ontario songwriting and a national treasure. I grew up in London, Ontario and spent enough time trolling Queen West scene in Hogtown to know that this loss will leave a gaping hole in the music scene in Ontario and across Canada. The influence of this giant's work is felt every time you listen to Canadian radio. I hope an appropriate tribute will be organized and that it gets the requisite coverage in the media, both social and otherwise.

Posted by Phil on February 18, 2008 12:45 PM

 

 

Damn. I know I saw him at Summerfolk at least once (definitely with Eaglesmith, possibly by himself as well... it's been years). He will be missed.

Posted by Ian Mathers on February 18, 2008 2:37 AM

 

 

 

Zoilus by Carl Wilson