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Willie P. Bennett passes

February 18, 2008

Willie P. Bennett, a pioneering singer/songwriter in the contemporary folk movement, died on Feb. 15 of a heart attack at age 57. One of a number of Canadians who produced songs that inspired the next generation and made waves into U.S. music culture, Bennett's work prompted the formation of Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, a "supergroup" made up of Colin Linden, Stephen Fearing and Tom Wilson that focused on Bennett songs. For the past decade, Bennett has toured with Fred Eaglesmith, playing harmonica and mandolin. He suffered a heart attack in May and was finishing his rehabilitation, apparently on schedule, when a second attack silenced him during a daily workout. Bennett won a JUNO Award in 1998 for Heartstrings.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at February 18, 2008 11:47 AM


Willie P. had more life on stage in an hour than many in a career. He richly deserves all accolades.

Posted by: Kevin Sumner at February 19, 2008 10:21 AM

Willie was one of Canada's finest - an outstanding singer/songwriter, harmonica and mandolin player, and much loved performer. His early demise is a huge loss to the many whose lives he so enriched.

Posted by: Karen Treleaven at February 24, 2008 11:15 AM

Sang "Music in Your Eyes" for about 40 folk music fans here last night. Not one of them knew who Willie was, but they all loved the song.
Plenty of folk singers doing their own stuff these days (some good - some awful). We need more folks keeping the work of the great old folk artists alive for the younger generations.

Posted by: Jerry O'Connor at February 29, 2008 10:42 AM

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