Stephen Bennett

About Stephen Bennett

Whether playing his great-grandfather's harp guitar, his 1930 National Steel or a standard 6-string, Stephen Bennett is a musician to hear. His playing has won awards and critical praise. In live performance and on record, his diverse musical influences and interests are joined with a lifelong love affair with the sound of guitar strings.

The Rights Of Coral

February 11th, 2021

My newest release goes live in a few hours. Inspired by the book The Outlaw Ocean by Ian Urbina, The Rights Of Coral was created for the Outlaw Ocean Music Project. It consists of 10 tracks of music I composed, played and recorded that also incorporates material from a large audio archive made available to me. It’s different from anything I’ve done before and I’m very happy with how it turned out. I hope you’ll check it out. This is digital only; there are no cds.

Here’s the link. If you happen on it before it goes live on Friday, Feb 12, it’s a way to pre-save the music in your streaming platform(s). Once it’s live, it’s a link to stream the music.

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Dec. 18, 2020

December 18th, 2020

Greetings to all. I’ll be doing a couple of finger-style guitar workshops in March for the Walnut Valley Festival (often just referred to as Winfield). If you’re interested, click here.

Also, my rendition of Because was included on an upcoming compilation on entitled John Lennon in Jazz. It appears that the vinyl version has just been released within the last week. It’s also already listed on Amazon but without any info as of today.

Now get back to your day, already in progress.

Best,

Stephen

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December 2, 2020

December 2nd, 2020

As this bizarre year winds down, the fact that a normal human being will be sworn in as president soon helps to assuage the lingering surreality of 2020. So, that’s good.

My next recording is titled The Rights Of Coral and will be released in February as a digital album on all the usual platforms. The music was inspired by the book The Outlaw Ocean by Ian Urbina. I composed and recorded 10 tracks for this project and played all the instruments as well. And I had an audio archive to work with so there are all kinds of sounds related to ships and the sea, as well as occasional narrations. Though the subject matter was generally depressing, taking on this project resulted in a very fruitful burst of creativity for me for which I will always be grateful.

Not sure exactly what my next musical project will wind up being but I’ve already written and recorded much of it. I guess that means I need to figure it out soon, eh? I do know that whatever musical projects I put out from now on will no longer involve the manufacture of cds. They simply don’t sell anymore.

I’ve spent several hours a day for most of the last several months playing Bach on the mandolin. Thanks for that inspiration, Chris Thile! I’ve been having a blast!

Lastly, I’ve been asked to teach at Tommy Emmanuel’s guitar camp next September in Nashville. Tommy asked me to record some duets with him in the day or two before camp begins so that should be fun!

Stay safe and well,

sb

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September 16, 2020

September 16th, 2020

Good morning to any who wander by this digital place. First, my heart goes out to all in the path of the fires on the west coast. My son lives in California, I have a bunch of relatives in Oregon and lots of friends in those states and Washington too. I’m paying attention to what’s happening there.

Second, a few items about my musical life. Thank you, Pandora listeners, for pushing me past the 140 million “spins” mark a few days ago! My tune Heron Waits passed the million mark last week, the 34th track of mine to do so on Pandora. All that listening you’re doing on whatever digital platform you listen to music to really helps – so again, thank you!

I have spent the 3rd weekend of September many times in Winfield, Kansas playing music at the Walnut Valley Festival and I was booked to do so this year. I bowed out of the festival shortly after covid-19 showed up earlier this year and the entire festival cancelled a few months later. There will be a virtual festival however this weekend. I recorded a half hour set in my living room a week or so ago that will air at 1:00 Central time. Here’s the link for that.

The Harp Guitar Gathering™ will be a virtual event this year as well and will take place the afternoon of October 17th, via Webex. Details will be getting posted very soon HERE.

My next album to be released will be my project for The Outlaw Ocean. I composed and recorded 10 tracks for it and my dear friend Kim Person is working on the final mixes now. This will be released on the digital platforms only, not in physical form. While the subject matter was often depressing, the assignment unleashed a serious burst of creativity in me. I loved doing it! I’m not yet sure what the title will be but whatever it’s called, it’ll be released this year.

I’ve also recorded 7 tracks for the next release after that. As long as music keeps coming out of me, I’ll keep getting it out to you!

Last, a couple of quotes from Republicans about the cancer that is the Donald.

From Senator Mitt Romney:

“So the verdict is ours to render under our Constitution. The people will judge us for how well and faithfully we fulfill our duty. The grave question the Constitution tasked senators to answer is whether the president committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a high crime and misdemeanor. Yes, he did.

The president asked a foreign government to investigate his political rival. The president withheld vital military funds from that government to press it to do so. The president delayed funds for an American ally at war with Russian invaders. The president’s purpose was personal and political. Accordingly, the president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust.”

From former Senator and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats:

“To him, a lie is not a lie. It’s just what he thinks. He doesn’t know the difference between the truth and a lie.”

Stay safe and well,

sb

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August 7, 2020

August 7th, 2020

This bizarre year continues on. My country seems to have lost its mind. The insanity that is donald trump continues unabated. I thought the man was a lying sack of manure as a private citizen and my opinion of him has only gone down. His supporters in the Senate and House repulse me. I have respect for precisely one Republican Senator, Mitt Romney. The rest of them have broken their oaths to uphold the Constitution. The disconnect between what America says it stands for and what reality looks like grows ever wider. The Coronavirus Pandemic continues on with 715,555 deaths worldwide (as reported by the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center) and 160,111 deaths here in the US. As I said, a bizarre year…

I saw a yard sign yesterday that spoke for me quite well. It read: In This Home We Believe: Black Lives Matter, Love Is Love, No Human Is Illegal, Feminism Is For Everyone, Science Is Real and Kindness Is Everything. I couldn’t agree more.

I’ve been busy making music. Two projects have occupied my time. One is a YouTube channel named KarmaCovfefe which allows me (and some of my friends) to vent about our poor excuse of a president. There are 6 songs posted there and more coming.

The other project that has occupied my mind and time began on May 14 when I was contacted by an investigative reporter named Ian Urbina. You can read an amazing story he reported just a month ago here. Several years ago he did a series of pieces for The New York Times on illegal activities on the world’s oceans. That led to a book called The Outlaw Ocean and then to a music project. Ian wrote to invite me to be a part of that project. Though the subject matter is pretty depressing (and probably not really what I needed mentally – another depressing reminder of our species’ mistreatment of each other and the planet on which live) but nonetheless it promised to be an interesting and intelligent topic with which to attempt to create music. I could choose to create from 2 to 10 tracks so I contracted to do 6 pieces. As it happens, I wrapped up the first version of a 10th track yesterday. I’ve had a blast with this project. What I’m doing is creating music that’s inspired by the investigative reporting. It’s not just music however. I also add in elements as I care to from a large audio archive that Ian compiled over the course of years spent on the waters of the world. Sometimes I incorporate pieces of prose to help paint the picture. That might be Ian or someone else reading a sentence or two. It could be a couple of ship’s captains speaking to each other. If you’re interested, you’ll be able to hear what I’ve come up with in the form of an album released onto the usual digital platforms sometime later this year. I think it’s pretty damn cool! Your mileage may vary. Stay safe, wear a damn mask and be kind. sb

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