About Willie
Maybe you know Willie P Bennett as the Fred Eaglesmith harp & mandolin player, or have heard his songs through Blackie & The Rodeo Kings. Many of you you have come to know Willie seen and heard him perform somewhere in Canada over thirty years. This site is here to let you get to know him a little better. Visit www.williepbennett.com for more on Willie P

Willie's most recent CD Heartstrings, his seventh album has been awarded a Juno, the Canadian music industry's Grammy.
Back in the nineteen seventies the Canadian Folk music scene was a hotbed of talent. Southern Ontario was a particularly fertile ground with clubs like Le Hibou in Ottawa, the Riverboat in Toronto, Campbells in Hamilton, and Smales Pace in London which provided the necessary warmth and nourishment to singer/songwriters.
Bruce Cockburn, David Wiffen, David Bradstreet, David Essig, Stan Rogers (who died in a tragic aircraft fire in 1984) and Willie P Bennett were just some of the names to emerge from this environment. Among these names Willie P Bennett continues to be one of the most innovative and exciting talents in Canada today. His recording career began in 1975 with Trying To Start Out Clean, a naive but refreshing collection of the 24 year old artist's best known songs from the then flourishing coffee house circuit. He followed this promising album with two more critically acclaimed releases. Hobo's Taunt (1977) and Blackie and the Rodeo King (1979). Under the skillful production of David Essig and a young engineer named Daniel Lanois, these ground-breaking albums are regarded by many as the blueprint for a musical style that gained popularity in the nineties through bands like the Skydiggers, and Barenaked Ladies. Acoustic albums that rock. Although these vinyl albums are long gone, much of these recordings are available on the Collectibles CD (1996), and now Hobo's Taunt has been reuissued on by BNATURAL MUSIC. They sound timeless, fresh and vital as the day they were recorded. In 1993 he released Take My Own Advice on the Dark Light Music label and this CD along with Collectibles, Hobo's Taunt and the 1999 Juno award winning Heartstrings are distributed through this website.
For the last five years Willie has stepped back from the solo spotlight accompanying
Fred Eaglesmith on mandolin and harmonica, but with the release of his new CD Heartstrings and the Juno award it garnered, Willie once again is gaining prominence as a performer and songwriter. Anyone who has seen Willie P Bennett at a music festival knows how versitile he is on mandolin and harmonica, as he accompanies diverse musicians across a variety of genres. But it is as a songwriter of singular integrity that has won him such deep respect among his peers. He has more great songs out of print than most Canadian songwriters have ever written.
Bennett the songwriter and musician has merged with Bennett the singer on
Heartstrings, the Peterborough based artist's Juno award winning album. His first CD of original material in five years. Produced by Tony Quarrington, the 14 tracks span an impressive range of musical genres including bluegrass, country, blues, gospel, klezmer and folk. Bennett has never sounded better. His burnished baritone is itself a fascinating instrument. And he gets a hand from a stunning lineup of guest musicians including guitarists Bruce Cockburn, David Wilcox, Amos Garrett and Stephen Fearing (who co-wrote the lovely ballad Brave Wings with Bennett), banjo ace Tony Trischka, fiddlers Graham Townsend and Melanie Doan, vocalists Daisy DeBolt and Tannis Slimmon, multi instrumentalists Jeff Bird, Ken Whitely and Scott Merritt and the whole Prairie Oyster crew. Heartsrings is a warm, rich, textured album. Under Quarrington's assured production each song is like a carefully cut and polished jewel. This CD should send Bennett fans soaring. It also should attract a new generation of discerning listeners.