Beyond the Spotlight - Featuring Allie Bennett

Written by Max MacDonald.

al-bennettFor 36 years he’s performed on over 100 records, toured a good part of the world and performed with a who’s who of Canadian folk musicians. He’s a musical director, teacher, guitar and fiddle player. He’s an arranger, producer and musical director. 

Al Bennett is also a humble man with a quiet sense of humour. He always makes me laugh when I’m hosting a show that he is in. As we pass backstage after his performance with someone and with the sound of wild cheering in the background, he will often say, “Fooled them again.” He is referring to the audience but we both know that no one was fooled. Allie just does not want to take any credit for a successful performance.

He’s played Vegas with John Allan, toured with Rita MacNeil, Bruce Guthro, the Rankins, the Barra MacNeils and many more. In short, he’s a musician’s musician. He’s been in the middle of some of the most historic musical developments and events in Cape Breton music history.

The interesting bit is that you likely can’t name a song he’s sung or a tune he’s played. You have probably never purchased a ticket to an Al Bennett event. However, ask any Cape Breton musician you are aware of who they would want beside them on stage. I would suggest that Allie Bennett’s name would be at the top of the list.

I hope Al writes a book one day. I would love to hear more about him playing in Europe with Stan Rodgers, travelling with John Allan Cameron and all the people they met along the way. Al has much to teach us about making the world a better place and taking pride in your profession.