(Bob Bennett has been one of my favorite singers and songwriters for many years. Please read this interview and also listen to his music. Many of his songs would be great for Christmas and as we begin a New Year.)
Chris: Thanks for joining us, Bob. And thanks for your music.
Bob: I’m glad to have been part of your own musical soundtrack over the years. So very kind of you to highlight my music with your readers.
Chris: I have loved watching the Facebook Live Concerts. Have you enjoyed those?
Bob: I can’t properly communicate how gratifying it is. Although I had done Facebook livestreams before, March 21st (on my 65th birthday) was my first during the Covid Era—and that one went so very well on a lot of levels, that I made a decision to try doing it weekly. I had concerns about wearing out my welcome, diluting the novelty of this type of connection, etc. (And there are valid arguments which, I think, lead others to appear less often.) But, for me, it’s been so gratifying to have something to do each week and people to sing for!
Chris: I’ve been a fan for many years. For those who aren’t familiar with your music, tell us more of your story.
Bob: I grew up during what Martin Mull calls “The Great Folk Music Scare of the Sixties, when that stuff almost caught on!” Well, it actually did catch on for a good decade-and-a-half. I listened to my older brother’s record collection and when, at age ten, I began learning guitar from him, there was no turning back. Although I had no idea at age ten what a life in music would look like, I knew (as much as you can know that young) that “this” was the thing! I recorded my first solo album for a small church-based label in 1979.
Chris: What are your most popular songs?
Bob: Radio-wise, it would be “Come and See,” “Lord of the Past,” and “Yours Alone.” The couple that seem to come up most often as requests are “Man of the Tombs” and “Mountain Cathedrals.”
Chris: I often go back to “Songs from Bright Avenue.” Like many of your albums, the songs were—and still are—therapeutic for me in my own struggles.
Bob: That album documents, perhaps, my largest failure in this life (and, trust me, there are many), but it also was a moment where I was gifted with something that looked like hope that there would be a future not wholly defined by misery.
Chris: What new songs are you working on and when can we hear them?
Bob: I’m a naturally slow-mover when it comes to releasing new albums. Of course, Covid has put a wrinkle in everybody’s plans. I hope to be able to work remotely with my producer Roy Salmond (in Surrey, BC). As far as new songs, I occasionally “test market” those during livestreams. And, a few months ago, I tried releasing a single-song (“Little Kate”) to kick off my revamped web store at www.bobbennett.com.
Chris: Thanks for writing an endorsement in my book of poems, “embracing now.” I love poetry and see it important as not only literature but also as prayerful therapy.
Bob: Happy to do that. We definitely have a “birds of a feather” connection when it comes to our mutual appreciation of well-ordered, yet heartfelt words.
Chris: How can we pray for you? And tell us how to pick up copies of your albums and watch your concerts.
Bob: To put it in automobile terms (which I know very little about), the old undercarriage of the original body is feeling the strain of age. I’m one of those lifelong “large guys” with a hyphenated list of things I have to pay attention to. These days, I’m having some chronic leg pain issues. In the pantheon of horrible crises that people face, this is “not nothing” but it’s certainly not at the level some have to deal with. It has given me a very modest-sized window of insight into how hard it must be for folks to cope with pain almost all of the time. That was one I didn’t see coming. I’m improving and hopeful for a good outcome, but we pray for healing by whatever means and trust that He will be with us no matter how things unfold.
Many of my older Weekly Facebook Live concerts are on YouTube. (They’ve been hassling me about rights … which they’re infamous for, so I haven’t posted a lot of the later episodes.) as I write this just before Christmas 2020, we’re heading into Episode #40! Streaming services (Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music) have most, but not all of the albums. YouTube is “the open, find-almost-everything wild west,” so there’s plenty there. Music purchasers can find things on my own site (www.bobbennett.com) as well as iTunes, Amazon, etc. My own site has many CDs that other sites don’t. These days, CDs are such a “dying item” that I now sell plain-disc, Sharpie-labeled versions like we did in the very ancient days when CDs were still new. Almost everybody (even people my age) is streaming more than buying.
Chris: Bob, thanks again for telling us a little more of your story.
Bob: Happy to check in, Chris. Again, I appreciate the introduction to your audience!