Kevin Bennett, well-respected singer/songwriter with Sydney roots band The Flood, CMAA Gold Guitar winner in 2006 (with The Flood for Best Group) and 2011 (with Kasey Chambers for Vocal Collaboration), and also Aria nominee for 2006, writes relevant, contemporary Australian music containing elements of blues, rock and country – telling stories of where he’s from and where he might be going.
KB was in Mullumbimby last September and played a solo show to a rapt audience. He plays the Currumbin SoundLounge on Friday with the Flood and the Court House Mullumbimby this Sunday with compatriot Glen Hannah for a special duo performance.
What have you been up to since your last visit to this area?
The last year has been a whirlwind of diversity for me – I’ve been playing music, of course, but in many varied forms such as solo/duo acoustically, electrically with The Flood, and with tributes to great bluesmen Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters.
In between, I’ve been incredibly lucky to be visiting remote communities with The Jimmy Little Foundation’s Thumbs Up health program, promoting, through music, the benefits of healthy diet and drinking water for school children. The kids write a song, have fun and, one hopes, retain the message ‘Good Tucker Long Life’.
The endless possibilities of music, the way different people’s voices sound different on the chords we all play, the way music can be made by just about anyone with imagination. Writing songs keeps me connected, interested and driven… performing new stuff as well as older material in front of an audience is the thing that keeps me going – it never gets old.
How has the discovery that you have Aboriginal blood in your family line changed you?
It’s made a lot of sense of many things in my life and helped me understand my dad’s behaviour and our relationship better. I’ve acquired a great, generous new family, and everywhere I go I meet people who help me with getting in touch with my culture. I feel that I really belong and that is a wonderful thing.
The Northern Exposure Tour is reuniting you with some longtime friends/musical associates – Glen Hannah for all the shows, Kirk Lorange, Scott Hills and Greg Lyon for The Flood show at The SoundLounge. What can the punters expect from these performances?
I can’t wait to hear what happens when we all play together! Kirk and I started in a band called Chasin’ The Train in Sydney in the 80s and Scotty was drummer in The Flood for years; Greg’s a legendary musician and Glen is in the current Flood lineup, so it will be amazing! There’ll be a mix of Kirk’s gumbo + Train funky blues and the rootsy Flood sound, all in one!
What plans do you have musically for the rest of this year?
I’m attempting to get a Flood record done as soon as financially possible and also am applying for the Americana Festival in the US in September – more JLF work and trying to write better songs!