MAKING A SCENE
INDEPENDENT MUSIC MAGAZINE : : INTERVIEW WITH THE BENNETT BROTHERS
Interview with Indie Blues Artists
“The Bennett Brothers Band”
After years of making music together Brooklyn natives, the Bennett brothers have had the honor to perform alongside greats like Levon Helm, B.B. King, Bo Diddley and many more.
They were born and raised in the South West corner of Bay Ridge Brooklyn by the Verrazano Bridge. The neighborhood is known for its bars restaurants, churches and legions of rabidly loyal music fans of bands such as Hot Tuna, The Band, The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers plus country, folk and traditional Irish music.
In the late 90’s, the brothers released “The Bennett McLaughlin Band” record with guitarist, singer, songwriter Mike McLaughlin. This led to a show playing with Rick Danko. The shows producer, Norman Clancy was able to coax Levon Helm into performing also. This was Rick and Levon’s last show together.
Shortly after that show Levon started inviting Jimmy and Peter to his home in Woodstock to make some music. In his friendly, gracious Levon manner, he had anecdotes and stories all the way back to seeing Elvis on a flat bed truck when he was boy. He also told the brothers about midnight rambles they had in Arkansas when he was growing up and how he wanted to do them in his house.
Over the next few years Jimmy and Peter did a series of shows with Levon, and sometimes Garth Hudson would show up or Amy Helm and Alexis P. Suter. One thing led to another and The Bennett Brothers Band were opening shows at “The Midnight Ramble” where Hubert Sumlin, Johnnie Johnson, Little Sammy Davis and Luther “Guitar” Johnson were all frequent guests in the early days.
Soon after that, Jimmy Vivino, Larry Cambell, Mike Merritt and a host of other great players started forming “The Levon Helm Band.” Amy Helm teamed up with Byron Isaacs, Tony Leone and some more excellent musicians to form “Ollabelle.” And the Bennett Brothers morphed into The Alexis P. Suter Band. They did close to 100 Rambles.
So, all of this great music came out of Levon’s musical workshops, his vision and opening his house and heart to all of us. There are still musical off-shoots to this day coming out of the seeds planted at those early rambles.
Jimmy and Peter went on to perform and contribute songs on the first 7 Alexis P. Suter albums. This helped propel the band to national and international stages and festivals, garnering several BMA nominations.
In recent years The Bennett Brothers have played on and contributed songs to two Bruce Katz releases. Jimmy has appeared on three John Ginty releases and contributed songs to, and played on, the new Sean Chambers record, all on American Showplace Music.
Jimmy and Peter are looking forward to this next phase of their career with this all new band of wonderful musicians and friends. Their new Album, NOT MADE FOR HIRE, is available for sale or download. on Amazon and itunes.