MAKING A SCENE
Sunday Morning Sessions
Junkyard Dog Productions
Sunday Morning Sessions is the gentle and unplugged side of the typically fiery guitarist Jimmy Bennett.
You may recall Bennett was electric guitarist with The Bennett Brothers, Bruce Katz, John Ginty, and Alexis P. Suter albums on the American Showplace label under the late Ben Elliott to whom these tracks are dedicated. Bennett, of course, has an esteemed legacy even prior to his work at American Showplace, having shared the stage with Hubert Sumlin, Bo Diddley, Bill Kirchen, and The Band members Levon Helm, Rick Danko, and Garth Hudson.
INDEPENDENT MUSIC MAGAZINE : : REVIEW
This is simply a duo offering with Bennett on acoustic guitar, Dobro, and some vocals with producer, recorder, mixer Ginty on the Vintage vibe piano, B3, and drums. As the title might suggest, the album was born out of the pandemic. Bennett first recorded the opening “Easter Morning Melody” and shared a video of it on Facebook. The response was unexpectedly overwhelming, causing Bennett to stream more editions of “Sunday Morning Sessions,” which are apparently still continuing. Eight of the ten are originals with Johnny Cash’ “Ring of Fire” and Delbert McClinton’s “New York City” as his two interpretative covers.
After the fingerpicked “Easter Morning Melody” he sings a rather mournful spiritual tune, “Will I See You Again,” the kind of pondering many of us did during those pandemic times. He gives his Dobro a healthy workout on “Snow Sliding” as Ginty keeps steady time. “Bay Ridge Blues” slips into that melancholic John Fahey style but then, unlike Fahey, we hear a vocal tune with the guitar remaining in the same style. More Dobro slide work colors the vocal tune “Katy Mae,” another with a back porch feel but lacking any sort of frivolity oft associated with such. That element is very much present, however, in his animated take on Delbert’s “New York City” where we hear Ginty soloing on the Vintage vibe piano.
“Broken River Stream” has some of Bennett’s best rapid fire, liquid picking while “Ring of Fire” displays impressive plucking on the bass strings while picking on the higher end in a relatively faithful rendering. The jaunty “Mr. Charlie” is not the Grateful Dead song of the same name but carries a similar spirited country blues vibe. “Serenade for New Orleans” concludes the brief, warm set with deft Dobro picking and a lingering mourn for the Crescent City.
Bennett does not possess the most distinctive voice but yet it fits with the tenor of these tunes. Yet, his calling card is his stellar guitar work, and that’s of course why he released these relaxing tunes.
Jim Hynes | Making a Scene Magazine | May 5, 2023
MAKING A SCENE
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“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.
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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.