St. Patrick's Day

Hello from Nashville,

It’s St. Patrick’s Day as I peck this out on a clear, bright Sunday morning. We’ve been through an unseasonably wet winter getting in excess of 11 or 12 inches of normal rainfall for this time of year. The rivers and creeks still high and the ground like a sponge, but we’ve had a reprieve the last few days and the week to come promises dry weather. It’s good seeing the sun again and mild afternoon temps.

I want to thank everyone for the great response to the Four Buck Folk e.p. I know the download thing isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, nor is it mine, but we all were so fired up about the music and wanted to get it out quickly and simply. At some point toward the end of this year I’ll get back in the studio and do some more recording then get back to the physical format, possibly vinyl as well. Thanks too for the continued support of the Ballads In Otherness record, it’s all greatly appreciated.

I’ve been keeping my eye on this upcoming tour with Mark Knopfler and it’s just a couple of weeks before I leave to begin rehearsals in London. Hard to believe it’s been four years since we did our last touring. These last few weeks I’ve been playing through some songs testing my memory. Pleased to say it’s come back like an old friend. I’m really looking forward to hitting the boards again with MK and that great band.

I’ll be posting from the road again this time, though likely more of a periodical than the daily thing. I don’t know…. we’ll see.

Here we are, just a few days away from Spring and I hope this finds you emerging from the winter doldrums and into the sunshine.

Richard

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Richard Bennett
December 2018

An unseasonably mild end of the year and start to winter here in Nashville, 50+ degrees, on and off sunshine promised through the year’s end.  I’ll take it.


These last months have been a relatively quiet period and I’ve been using the time for writing as well as starting a new record.  I already have three things finished and ‘in the can’ as they used to say.  This record is shaping up to be a very different album than the others.  Really excited about it and am focused on its direction.  This record will more than likely not come out for a year or more due to my random nature of recording, but also……


2019 will be a touring year!  We gathered in London at the always wonderful British Grove Studios earlier this year to record Mark Knopfler’s latest Down The Road Wherever.  It was released this autumn and we’re all looking forward to bringing it live to Europe and the States.  The band will consist of the usual cast of knuckleheads plus the wonderful trumpet player Tom Walsh, a young musician with an old soul and knows every inch of that instrument from Louis Armstrong forward.  I’m also very pleased my pal Danny Cummings will be out with us again.  Dan played percussion with Dire Straits as well as having a famed studio career in London.  He played drums with Mark from 2005-2010 and is now returning in the percussion chair.  Danny and I, along with Guy Fletcher, got up to quite a bit of mischief in the five years we toured together and am looking forward to more of the same.  Over these many years Mark has put together the most talented band going and I’m grateful to be part of it…. certainly looking ahead to joining them all on the boards again.


Thanks for the overwhelming response to the current Ballads In Otherness album, seems Moderne Shellac continues to re-stock the shelves at CD Baby.  On the Craft Brewed Music front, their curated music site is always gaining speed and altitude.  I am happy to be one of their selected artists and thanks to many of you for subscribing.  If you’re curious, check them out at www.craftbrewedmusic.com and, if you decided to subscribe, please let them know that I sent you. Here is a short promo vid about CBM:   https://youtu.be/sVEy513bMs8


I’ve been listening quite a bit to the new Shirley Collins album Lodestar.  At 80 years old she is the reigning matriarch of English folk songs having recorded extensively from the 1950’s through the ’70s.  Collins lost her voice to dysphonia and this is her first album in decades. It is a different voice now than her early records but one that gives these songs more gravity and meaning.  I also love the spare yet very powerful instrumentation of the record also lending weight to the songs.  Her recently published autobiography, All In The Downs, was inspiring to me as well as the documentary The Ballad Of Shirley Collins, all worthwhile.


It will be hopping here with our daughter and her family coming in from Indianapolis for Christmas and with our sons both living in Nashville, it will be a full compliment of Bennett’s around the holiday table.  Years ago we eschewed the trad turkey roasted and subbed it with Navajo tacos as our Christmas dinner and that seems to be the new norm now.


I wish you warm and peaceful holiday and all the best in the coming new year.


Richard

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Richard Bennett
Farewell October

Hi all,

Craft Brewed Music launches on Monday October 29th.  I mentioned them a while ago but to refresh your memory, CBM is a curated streaming service for adventurous listeners wanting to discover music outside the mainstream….above, below and to either side of the radar.  I’m extremely pleased that my music has been chosen and I’ll be included as one of their artists.  You can hear a free 10-song sampler (CBM Flight) or have total access via subscription (CBM Growler) at $5/per month or $50/per year.  That’s a lot of great and interesting music for very little money.  If you like what you hear, please subscribe.  When you do a dropdown box will appear asking how you heard about CBM… please use my name.  You can find out more at  www.craftbrewedmusic.com.

As we bid October adieu I have to say I’ll not be sorry to see this one pass.

It all began so well.  The last couple of days in September we loaded up the van, strapped on the car top carrier, filled them both to the gills with beach chairs, umbrellas, food, snorkels, kites, liquor, our dog and then a little more for good measure.  We’ve been taking family holidays down on the Gulf of Mexico every year for a couple of decades at least.  St. George Island, just over the causeway from Apalachicola, Florida has been our favourite destination for years now.  We opted for an early autumn vacation this year and splurged for a three week get-away… all our children, their children, daughter and son-in-laws and two dogs.

It’s a 500+ mile trip south from Nashville and once arrived, had a beach-y dinner and drinks, unloaded our things in the home we, rent and settled in for a few great days of sun and surf. About the middle of the week a storm began brewing that gathered and grew into Hurricane Michael.  By the weekend it was predicted to be dangerous and we were evacuated on the Monday afternoon, October the 8th having been there only a week.  Michael was due to make landfall directly at Apalachicola as a category 4 hurricane.  We had a lot of people and two pets to find digs for.  My daughter managed to get three rooms at a La Quinta Inn in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida that took dogs, thinking we’d be back on St. George in a few days.  We threw a few things in our bags, left the rest at the house and headed west for a couple of hours to Ft. Walton where the weather was not going to be as rough.  By the following morning the hurricane had begun swinging to the west and we were in harms way.  After a hasty family meeting we decided to get out of there and head back to Nashville, wait it out there then return and hopefully get another week at the beach.  As we watched Michael pummel the Gulf coast it was clear that we’d made the right decision.  Mexico Beach took the full brunt of the force but there was so much damage to coast and inland as Michael made it’s way north.  Our island spot, with the bay on one side and the Gulf on the other, was completely submerged due to the storm surge.  Clearly we weren’t going to get back on the island anytime soon… no power, no water, roads either washed away or covered in sand.  A sense of limbo came over us as we’d left so much stuff at the rental house in the dash to evacuate.

A couple of days after we got back to Nashville our 13+ year old dog suddenly quit eating and drinking water.  While plagued with arthritis for the last few years, she was always up for a walk, anxious to eat and she’d done well down at the beach for the week we were there.  Now she couldn’t get off her bed without help and it all happened so quickly.  We took her to the vet where they discovered a large mass growing near the spleen, more than likely malignant.  The options were not good especially given her age.  The most difficult decision was also the most humane and we let her go peacefully.  She had a good run and we were lucky to have her as long as we did.  My wife and that dog walked a thousand miles or more together.  In the end I’m glad we were back in Nashville when it happened and not in Florida.  We all dug her a fine resting place right next to our last Labrador, lowered her in with a 21 biscuit salute and laid the sod over.

A few days later the island rental office told us we would be refunded for the two weeks vacation we’d missed.  Also, the water and power had been restored and enough sand and debris had been cleared on the island that we could return to get all the stuff we’d left at the house.  Once again we headed 500 miles south back to Apalachicola.  We started to see hurricane damage just south of Dothan, Alabama.  Roofs ripped off, thousands and thousands of trees snapped like match sticks or completely up-rooted.  The ones left standing were permanently bowed.  Billboards down, trailers blown over, debris everywhere, hundreds of homes with blue plastic tarps where shingles used to be.  Heartbreaking and humbling.  The small towns inland from the Gulf really took a hammering from the 150 m.p.h. winds.

As for St. George Island, parts of it appeared not too bad when we got there but as we approached the house we rent it became clear how much damage had been done.  Much of the island had been under water due to the storm surge and vast amounts of sand had been brought up from the beach and deposited inland.  The road leading to our home had been partially cleared, enough to drive on but the driveway of the house was still thick with sand.  The owners were there assessing the damage when we arrived.  They told us there was four feet of sand under the house when they arrived.  Walls were washed away as well as boardwalks and pretty much everything that was ground level.  The house sustained some roof damage as well but overall was still standing and repairable.  We’d left a kayak and the car top carrier, both tied down under the house and they were nowhere to be found however what we’d left inside the house when we evacuated was all fine including a couple of ukuleles.  We rolled up our sleeves and began gathering our belongings.  We found our car top carrier washed away a half block across the street midst a load of debris, waded in, fished it out of some swampy sludge, hosed it off and though a little battered was none the worse for wear.  I strapped it onto the van and loaded everything up.  Just as we were about to drive away, our son Nick made one last attempt to find his kayak and sure enough did a few houses away.  In the end we limped back to Nashville with everything we’d brought down there.

We feel fortunate.  Our holiday ended up an inconvenience to us but for so many people down in southern Alabama and through the panhandle of Florida… they lost everything.  It will take a long, long time for things to return to normal down there.

We’re missing our dog very much still but are looking ahead to getting a puppy again soon.  It’s been a hell of a few weeks but we’re glad to be on the other side of it all and looking forward to welcoming November.

Richard

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Nicholas Bennett
Labor Day

Being an old union man I can attest to the difference it has made in my life and that of every person involved in any kind of labor union.

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Richard Bennett
2017-2018

Hey-ho-ho-ho

A long overdue up-date… aren’t they all.  I hope this finds everybody reading this in fine form and leaning in to the holiday season be it Hanukkah (already past), Christmas, Winter Solstice (today) Kwanza and whatever else I’ve missed.

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Notes From Nashvilleadmin