Friends for Richard

Friend's comments


Friend's comments about Richard



These comments are posted in order we received them.
My sincere thanks goes to all the people that made a contribution
and everybody who helped me to collect these comments, Henk
published November 2013



Would it be a stretch to say that without Richard Bennett I wouldn't be sitting on the beach in Malibu waiting for someone to bring me my smoked salmon? Maybe not. Would I be sitting in a truck at a warehouse somewhere in Alabama waiting for someone to unload a trailer full of frozen chickens? Quite possibly.

I've known Richard for 20 years. My best friend and at times my only friend. A great guy, the gentlest of souls with the patience of a clam...and though he'd cringe to hear me say it, the best guitar playing, songwriting, producing guy I've ever met and I've met a few... Genuinely humble and always much more interested in someone else's doings than his own, getting him to go down the list of his own accomplishments, brag as it were, is excruciating to him. When you've actually 'done it', why brag? From producing my records, playing guitar on my records, giving me priceless tips on how to play the guitar 'the right way' and load up the van so I could get the Hell out of town, Richard has always been there for me, and usually, well, always for 'no charge' (though I did get lunch at Wendell's that time)....So in closing let me say, would I have any kind of a career without Richard Bennett? Probably not.

On Producing Phil Lee records...
I was asked one time, besides guitar, what does Richard actually do on your records, they always sound natural, like a gang of pals showed up and started to have fun while the tape was rolling...To me it's like the Mickey and Goofy Take a Vacation cartoon where the car is careening around the mountain with 2 wheels still on the road while Mickey, Goofy and the car are swinging wildly into space, Richard is the guy who's holding the 2 wheels on the road. That to me is Richard Bennett producing a Phil Lee record.
Phil Lee, singer, song writer, recording artist
I remember reading an article from the Tennessean newspaper about Richard moving to Nashville and the list of his credits went on like a book. I first heard him when a mutual friend took me to see him play at "The Exit Inn" in Nashville. Pulling off a set of original instrumentals can be a risky business, but Richard pulled it off with a classy presence for which I will always be searching.

I was honored to have Richard show up in a class I was teaching awhile back at the Nashville Jazz Workshop. I was impressed by the way he would come in the following week with a beautiful song based on ideas we had gone over in class. I hope he got as much out of it as I did. Richard sets the class bar high whether it's in his playing, writing, or the way he dresses. If he ever teaches a class on musical integrity I'll be the first one to sign up.
Mel Deal, guitarist, educator, recording artist
Richard Bennett is one of my all-time favorite musicians. He is also an amazing record producer. He and I first met in L.A. back in 1973. The publishing company I was signed to brought Richard in to produce some of my earliest compositions. From a songwriter's point of view, Richard was the perfect producer to work with. He was able to hear things that other people often miss. He has a unique gift for putting people at ease and bringing out the best in them. Richard Bennett is also one of the kindest people I have ever known.
Gail Davies, singer, songwriter, producer, recording artist
Richard is such a wonderful and precious friend in my life, it's hard to just say a few words that can't ever be enough. I have never miss working with any one as I do with Richard . There is only one Richard Bennett, a great player and a great friend of mine, if I just could bring back those old days that we spent together.... I love him and his family lots.
King Errisson, percussionist with Neil Diamond, studio musician
Richard has given me a lot of advice regarding Guitars, amps and Things about working in the studio and so on. He really is a great guy, with a lot of experince and knowledge about these things, and I can really understand why Mark wants him in his band. He's song based, and not a guitar virituoso. And he is absolutely God of Tremolo Guitar playing, which I really love. And ofcourse, he seems like a really ice guy.
Geir Engen, singer songwriter, guitarist, recording artist
We have known Richard for some years he is one amazing guitar player and a brilliant composer. I was fortunate to meet Richard and the wonderful Mr Knopfler at a back stage party after a Cardiff arena concert and Richard is everything I thought he would be, a true guitar players guitarist.
Zoe McCulloch, guitarist, recording artist
I had the privilidge of meeting Richard Bennett when he was passing by Gothenburg on tour with Mark Knopfler. Apart from a a really nice meeting and a lot of guitar talk did he also write some fantastic words about my guitars on his blog- journal. As a guitar maker it means so much getting response from great guitarits. So once again thank you so much.
Thomas Fredholm, luthier
Richard has been a great friend for many years now. He was always there when I needed his advice. He has produced many great records including Emmylou Harris and Marty Stuart. In the last few years he's been touring with Mark Knopfler. All the Best for Richard.
Richard Weize, Bear Family Records
First I need to say that Mark Knopfler is without doubt, my personal favorite guitarist on the planet. The expressive tonality that he achieves from his fingertip touch blends so incredibly with his unique songwriting, his lower range vocal style, and his endless exploration and experimentation with the guitar. So anyone that has the job of accompanying Mark’s music is also at the top of my list!

I first met Richard Bennett in April of 2001 when he, Mark and Glenn Worf landed their chartered helicopter at the Nazareth Speedway. I picked them up at the track in the Martin van. That was a special day at the factory. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of delivering many Martin guitars to Mark, Richard and the band and seeing many of their great performances over the years. Aside from being a very accessible and warm human being, Richard is an incredible and diverse multi-instrumentalist. In Mark’s band, Richard is often in a supportive guitar role and I must say that there are few that could come close to his mastery of rhythm guitar. In fact, the song “Speedway at Nazareth” is a quintessential example of Richard’s unparalleled rhythm guitar virtuosity. I am equally impressed (blown away, in fact) by the array of other stringed instruments that Richard uses to add unique texture to the mix. Upon hearing Richard’s solo albums, his understanding of jazz and his beautiful sense of melody, it is clear that the guitar roles could easily be reversed with Mark backing Richard! So, I am starved for any new music that Richard releases, or that features him in Mark’s releases.

I consider him a national treasure, one of the greatest musicians of our time, and am quite honored to call him my friend.
Dick Boak, Martin Guitars
Richard Bennet is a sweet man and he's very talented. He uses all his energy and his considerable skills to help the person in front look and sound good. As a guitarist, he's a sponge for sounds and styles, but his secret weapon is great taste. His stuff always fits the song like a glove, and there's never to much information - he supports without taking up too much space, and that's rare indeed in a hot guitarist. Off stage, he'll talk all day about guitars and guitarists, and old records and he's just a happy guy being in the scene with the other musicians. He's an easy hang, and then when the work day begins, he's all business. He's the definition of the ultimate sideman.
Tim O’Brien, singer, songwriter, musician, recording artist
Richard is one of the greatest musicians I have come to know. His talent and integrity is something one should come to know and study to be great. I am blessed to call him my friend.
Eddie Bayers, drummer, studio musician
Like most great "professional" players, Richard can deliver whatever is needed on stage or in a recording studio. For me his real brilliance is as a composer. It's one thing for a writer to use words to tell the story.....put you in the romantic old west or LA in the 60's; quite another to do it strictly with tone and melody!
David Conrad, guitarist, song publisher
Richard and I go back to a time in LA when acoustic guitar players were few and far between. I'm referring to session guitarists of the early 70's. Back then, the acoustic guitar was not really an instrument many players focussed hard on when in the studio. It wasn't as "cool" as pulling out a Les Paul or a Tele. Richard and I approached this as a potentially "wide open" field. And, as a result, a lot of producers started booking us for our ability to do more on an acoustic guitar than just strum chords or play folk / bluegrass riffs. Richard approached his playing like I do. Simplicity and taste. In a town of fast gunslinging guitar players lurking in the shadows of Clapton & Page, he and I brought acoustic instruments to the forfront of pop recording, using the acoustic guitar as something more dominant, strong and important to the foundation of the track than just wallpaper. It seemed that my early session career lockstepped with his. We started working for everybody. In fact, we shared many sessions together and that was always a thrill. But Richard was far more advanced on the guitar than I, and I knew it. He could do it all, and I so admired him for it.
It was Richard who persuaded me to join an unknown duo who's recent hit he had played on. The Bellamy Brothers had the hottest record of the year with "Let Your Love Flow" and they wanted a player like Richard, who had played on that record. But Richard was already committed to Neil Diamond, so he called me and soon I was out hitting the boards and recording with Howard & David. Richard was like that, always ready to open a door if the opportunity presented itself.
Finally, more importantly, Richard is one of the good guys of this business. Uneffected by the enormity of his success and as down to earth as anyone you could ever meet in this crazy business. I am proud of my 40 plus years of friendship with him. And that friendship is one of my own valued acomplishments in this business.
John Beland, singer, songwriter, guitarist, studio musician
Recording with Richard Bennett makes me sound good, but it also provides for a nice life lesson: Survey a situation, assess it, then contribute only what will help. Monitor and adjust, carefully and with a minimum of motion. Nothing superfluous, nothing that calls attention to anything but the song. Not only does Richard play things that other people cannot, he plays things that other people could play but would never think of. He doesn't provide a flashy solo in the middle of a mediocre song, he elevates the song until it rises to his level. His playing somehow radiates not only elegance but kindness. I don't know how he does it, but I'm glad he does.
Peter Cooper, singer, song writer, journalist
I became an early fan of Richard Bennett from having listened to his playing on Mark Knopfler’s albums. I hadn’t realized how much of a great and multi-faceted musician he was until I’d later seen him playing with Mark on stage in New York. His unique ability to put the best notes in the right places is soulfully good. With the best of feel for taste and timing he is without a doubt one of my very favorite guitar tone masters. He manages to pull the best there is from an instrument no matter what it is. And man, is he smooth… A great companion for driving, his solo album recordings are commonly heard in my CD player.
Richard’s touring diaries from the road with MK have been a great source of entertainment to read and they also give insight to just how good a writing talent he is. As I got to know Richard I became aware that his wit is as well sharpened, as are his keen eyes and ears for life as we know and can appreciate it. I always look forward to hearing more beautiful things from Richard.
John Monteleone, luthier
I first met Richard Bennett in 1974 while recording with Eric Andersen, a folk singer signed to Arista Records at the time. He very graciously spent time showing me some of his (way too many) instruments, and orphan licks (like the one that became LA Shake)! He even took me to McCabe's Guitars in Santa Monica where I found "the perfect" Fire-engine Red square-necked Dobro, now owned by some guitar player in Aerosmith, but I digress……
Richard's willingness to share his musical knowledge has always been refreshing, and his depth of available playing styles & tones is just staggering to me…….Couple this with a great sense of humor, a way with words, and nary an ego in sight…….well, it has been a real honor to be able to call him a friend after all these years!
Howard Emerson, writer, guitarist, artist
I have worked with Richard Bennett for many years,with him as a producer and as a studio musician. He is one of the most brilliant guitarist in the world,I am so lucky to have worked with him. He taught me so much about playing acoustic guitar,I remember us playing together on 2 acoustics and I would watch the way he played and would try to copy the motion of his rhythm strum,it was amazing,the feel was so great and to this day I think about that when I play acoustic on sessions. His electric playing is out of this world,his solo albums are works of true genius! Besides all that he is a beautiful soul and a funny man,we have many great times together. I look forward to the next time I get to work with him. Best wishes...
Dan Dugmore, guitarist, steel guitar, studio musician
I first met Richard Bennett on a session in Los Angeles in the mid 70s. If my memory serves me, we were doing an album with Allan Clarke, lead singer for the Hollies. I didn’t know who Richard was or who he had played with but he obviously knew what he was doing. And it was great fun playing with him. Of course, I later found out he had been playing with Neil Diamond for many years. We didn’t say much the first day or so but it wasn’t long before we realized we had a lot of common interests. He and I both loved the great lap steel player Jerry Byrd and swapped a few stories about him. And then when we found out we were both huge fans of Chet Atkins a friendship blossomed. I had dinner at Richard’s house and was blown away by his incredible record collection and also his collection of beautiful old lap steels. We have been friends ever since. Richard is a remarkably gifted guitar player as is evident by his incredible body of work and his beautiful solo albums. Beautiful touch and feel! It would be such a joy for me to play on some project with him again.
Steve Hunter, guitarist, studio musician
I first met Richard two years ago upon joining Mark Knopflers band. From the very beginning he has shown me so much support and love, he made it easy for me to fit into the band. I then heard him play and fell in love with his unique sound and style. He truly is the linch pin of Marks band a band that would be nothing without his innate musicality and taste. I have grown to know and love him as a true friend also and count me in as a member of his fan club.........
Ian Thomas, drummer, studio musician
Having recently played with Richard in Mark Knopflers band I can understand why he is so in demand, and has the credits to show for it. His time and feel are awesome, his solos lyrical, and always the right sound. Apart from that he's the nicest guy to tour with, always so positive, and a true gentleman.
Nigel Hitchcock, saxophone, studio musician
It's been my pleasure to share studio floors and concert stages with Richard Bennett for the past thirty years. His enthusiasm for good music of every stripe is highly contagious. In any musical situation, Richard will find the perfect thing to play. Teenage or tropical, intelligent or ignorant, he will come up with the part that brings the song to life. Although I'm sure he will say I can't have it both ways, when I grow up I want to be like Richard Bennett.
Jim Cox, keyboards, studio musician
Richard Bennett is one of the most professional musicians I've ever had the pleasure of working with. His dedication, discipline, and devotion to his craft are second to none. One of my favorite things about him is that each and every night on our tours with Mark Knopfler, from rehearsals straight through to the last night of the tour, he takes a guitar with him back to his hotel room. Richard is that rare combination of supreme talent coupled with an absolutely incredible work ethic. He practices and studies music every single day. He is a man who has never for one moment taken his musical gifts for granted, and he is a joy and inspiration to be around each and every time we work together. In addition to being a consummate musician, he is one of the nicest people I've ever known, and it is my absolute honor to be able to call him my friend.
Glenn Worf, bass, studio musician
Richard Bennett is the kind of person I want to be someday. A very gracious person who is considerate of others. A superb musician who refuses to play a bunch of hot licks even though he can. A student of the best kinds of music. A man who loves and values his family. I'm proud to call Richard my friend and collegue. Can't wait to play music with you again my brother.
David Peterson, singer, musician, recording artist
One of the most humbling moments of my life was playing guitar on the same stage as Richard Bennett playing washboard. Unparalleled in elegance and taste, he is the ultimate guitar player's guitar player. He always gives me the impression that he spent long hours carefully selecting each individual note, giving it just the right inflection. It delights me that his work graces a very special song on my new record. Thanks, Richard.
Jan King, guitarist, singer, recording artist
If there’s a great guitar ‘part’ on a great record, chances are it’ll be this man. Richard Bennett has graced many a hit record with his sublime talent, taste, technique and tone. His studio skill is unparalleled and a blessing for all fortunate enough to enjoy his musical company. With a natural talent for record production as well as guitar playing, Richard can survey any musical situation and with the minimum fuss and seemingly effortlessly, he’ll find just the right ‘thing’ to enhance any recording. He’ll find that guitar part that sounds like it’s “always been there”. Every note played, sings like it’s the only one.

Talent like that doesn’t grow on trees but you could be forgiven for thinking that it grows on Richard. He’s one of the most dedicated musicians I have the pleasure of knowing, Richard is an inspiration to be around and his enthusiasm for music, no matter what the genre, is utterly boundless.

Always a great friend, travel companion, oracle and on the odd occasion, partner in crime… Richard Bennett… is one of the greats…Goddammit!
Guy Fletcher, keyboards, producer, studio musician, recording artist
I first met Richard around 2001 when an engineer friend hired my studio to do some work for a record Richard was producing.
We hit it off and became good friends. Richard is an amazing tonemeister and fabulous guitarist with class and taste.

He has become sort of a mentor to me. We also share a bizarre affinity for Waffle House breakfasts and our get togethers usually begin over breakfast there.
When I did the 2nd Thelonious Moog record, I asked him to play a goofy, fuzz-laden guitar solo on the Monk tune "Off Minor". I insisted that he play it "sloppy" as we were spoofing 'Moog records' of the late 60's & 70's. He rose to the occasion and dug out an old fuzz tone of some sort that he had squirreled away, mentioning he hadn't used it for years.
I also had him play an electric sitar solo on our rendition of "Take Five", called "Take 5, 6 & 7". Again, a stellar performance, which he recreated "here".

Richard is a class act and a valued friend and confidant. He's had an amazing career and I am proud to call him a friend!
Joe 'Guido' Welsh, writer, guitarist, keyboards, engineer, recording artist
Richard Bennett, what can I say but simply one of the best, nicest and uplifting musicians I've ever have had the good fortune or privilege to work with. I have traveling the world for over 30 years as a Guitar Tech on tour with some of the best bands the music industry has to offer and I must say that it's musicians like Richard Bennett that makes it all worthwhile.
Tom TC Calcaterra, guitar tech
A day spent with Richard is a special treat! Sessions are more musical and focused, lunch is always interesting, even drinking a cup of coffee is an event with Richard. The music industry has its share of fast and flashy players. While many guitarists are busy making waves, Richard quietly concentrates his musical efforts on the undertow. With discipline over time, Richard has developed and internalized his own voice. His musical ideas stem from his heart, not his head. This, combined with his use of taste and tone is what sets Richard apart from all other players. I'm truly blessed for Richard's friendship and honored to be included in his musical brethren.
Ted Tretiak, drummer, studio musician
I must have been destined to know Richard Bennett. I got to know him through Phil Lee whom I met in 2000 through a former editor of Creem Magazine. In 1971, I was a 17-year-old just out of Detroit’s Cass Tech High School, writing for Creem (as R.A. Pinkston IV) when I met Steve Hunter. After moving west years later, Steve became friends with Phil Lee and Richard Bennett, who I would also get to know through Phil and who would help me reconnect with Steve Hunter after all those years. And round and round again.

In 2008, when I was ill and pretty much had to learn to play again from the ground up, Richard called me every couple of days to check on and encourage me. He’s not just a friend but one of the few people whom I can call to ask what must seem to him the dumbest guitar and uke questions or to discuss Slim Gaillard, Tommy Cooper (just like that) or the pleasures of a fine martini. He is also an enabler of the first degree who has impishly fanned the flames of my ukulele buying addiction.

I didn’t think I could be prouder than I was when Richard asked me to write the liner notes for his For The Newly Blue album. Then Jan King-who I’d also gotten to know through Phil Lee- asked me to play ukulele on the same cut on her album that has Richard Bennett on lap steel. Over the top, man; I’m still grinning.
Rick Allen, writer for Vintage Guitar Magazine, ukulele, guitarist
Richard is a gentleman and a master guitarist. The kind of musician other musicians want to emulate.
Mandy Barnett, vocalist and actress
My brother Richard was definitely "instrumental" in my taking up the drums. It was his drums that were handed down to me when he started taking guitar lessons, at the same time rescuing me from playing the accordian - my first instrument - for the rest of my life. That small act of moving the kit out of his room and into mine planted the seed for my career in music, and I feel privileged to enjoy some of the notoriety that comes with that. Thanks Richard!

Richard's first drum : Ludwig transition in Blue/Silver Duco Fall ,

Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz, drummer for the The "Weird Al" Yankovic Band
"I have been a longtime fan of Richard Bennett. His timing of planting just the right note, the flavor or attitude he brings to any track he encounters, are what put Richard in a group all his own. He always sounds fresh and is an endless fount of good ideas. He can be invisible or can command the big lights at a moments notice.

Also, and this may not be a secret, but Richard is a virtuoso Hawaiian lap steel player - A subject that has been the topic of many conversations between us. Anyone who can play Hawaiian steel and still keep a job with as many iconic performers as Richard Bennett has, should be in whatever Hall of Fame they choose. Just my unbiased opinion! He's the greatest!"
Jerry Douglas, resonator guitar and lap steel player, record producer.
Richard is one of the most innovative players in the world. It's been a privilege to work with him.
Rosanne Cash, writer and musician.
Richard has played acoustic and electric guitars, lap steel, ukuleles and a few other instruments on several of my children's CDs over the last ten years. The first one was called "Sea Tunes for Kids" and I could tell that he was really enjoying being part of a project for kids. I think it was so different from what he was used to hearing and working on in Nashville's studios that he was really having a good time. He certainly did an excellent job.

If he'd ever worked on a children's CD before I don't remember him mentioning it. He was a bit like a kid in a candy store with all his instruments spread around him in the studio, listening to songs about lobsters and sharks and such. Dave Hoffner has always produced my CDs and he's excellent and fun to work with anyway. Between Dave's humor and the goofy songs I can't help but think it was one of the more novel projects Richard worked on that year.

When he came to work on the next CD he informed me that he'd given a copy of "Sea Tunes" to Mark Knopfler and that Mark was listening to it with his kid a lot. I think he passed it on because he played on it and because it was well produced but also because it was such a novel thing for him that he just wanted to share it with Mark. Mark's kid's probably a teenager now but I'll bet some of those songs are still in both of their heads!

Richard played some amazingly smooth electric guitar on my "Beary Christmoose" CD, some wonderful classical guitar on the "Moosebeary Jam" CD and some beautiful lap steel and ukulele on the Hawaiian version of my "Island Tunes for Kids" CD. He plays so many instruments that half the fun of working with him is the anticipation of waiting to see which instrument he'll pick. The other half is seeing what part he'll come up with and the third half is watching him lay it down so beautifully.

Aside from being a great musician he's just a great, genuine human being. He's fun and comfortable to be around. If he has any personality quirks I haven't seen them yet. He gets totally focused when he's laying down a track, even if its rhythm ukulele. Its a beautiful thing to watch.

He has this little soprano ukulele Neil Diamond gave him and he was laying down rhythm tracks on these silly songs for my Island Tunes. I was sitting on the sofa and having a hard time not laughing at how focused he was. Here's a grown man playing a tiny instrument to a silly song and his whole being seemed to be focused on making it perfect. It was rather funny to watch but I appreciated his professionalism because its that kind of focus that makes the difference between a good track and a great track.

He fell in love with this little tenor uke I'd picked up for $200 and he wound up using it more on the Island Tunes CD than the $5,000 Martin uke that Neil Diamond gave him. It was an off brand uke but it had great intonation and a good sound. I accidentally ran over it with my car a few months later which changed the sound quality rather drastically, but at least we got some good use out of it.

Richard really is a musical genius and a master at his trade. He's fun to be around, he has lots of great stories and enough talent for ten musicians. And yet he's as comfortable as your favorite leather coat. I hope I get to make music with him many more times in the future.
Brent Holmes, singer, humorous storyteller & poet
Richard Bennett holds a special place in my "guitar world". He has the distinction of producing and creating some of the greatest guitar parts and tones (Steve Earle's "Hillbilly Highway" comes to mind) and having such a distinguished career as a sideman and session musician, but for me he is one of my most "listenable" guitar artists. I have nearly worn out my copy of "Themes From a Rainy Decade" listening to his melodic brilliance, soulful tone and impeccable phrasing. Richard is indeed one of my top "guitarists' guitarist".
John Jorgenson, music virtuoso, known for his blistering guitar licks and mastery of a broad musical palette
"Richard Bennett is my hero. He always brings the greatest, most selfless musicality to every situation. He is the perfect combination of a stylist-- his is an immediately recognizable style-- and a total team player... Every time I play with him or hear him play, it moves me so much... His ideas and his feel on the guitar are so soulful... And it lights a path to making myself a better player... I always learn something significant about how to better suit my playing to a song...His generosity in music extends to how he relates to his fellow players as well. He is a guru and a master."
Colin Linden, musician, songwriter and record producer
It's not just that he's a great guitar player -- he's a true musician.
When he's playing music by himself, he concentrates, he feels, he cares.
When he's playing with other musicians, he cares about them.
Like the very best musicians, he seeks connection with other musicians.
Brad Jones, producer, engineer, mixing engineer


Below are comments that are posted in November 2015.
My sincere thanks goes to all the people that made a contribution
and everybody who helped me to collect these comments, Henk




Richard is one of my heroes as a musician and as a producer and he has helped me out a lot in the last 10 years
as i have tried to navigate the waters of the music business and cut my teeth as a producer in Muscle Shoals and Nashville.
Scott Ward, bass, acoustic guitar, vocals
I have known Richard for a number of years. it is very uncommon to meet a musician with the extraordinary level of talent and longevity that Richard has, coupled with the warmth and kindness of an old friend.
Most musicians would be grateful to have half of the the illustrious career Richard has had, playing and writing with many of the best musicians of this generation.
To achieve his level of success is unthinkable to most. To do it with such grace and style is unheard of.
There are a tremendous amount of extremely talented musicians in the music industry and then there are the “Great Ones” , Richard is one of the "Great Ones“ .
Howard Swimmer, HRS Unlimited

I met Richard Bennett when I was bringing instruments backstage to the Mark Knopfler “Get Lucky” tour.
The opener was a gentleman named Bo Ramsey, who has played Reverends for years. Richard asked to see a Flatroc after hearing Bo play one night after night.
He tried it out, and he was hooked. When I saw him last month, he told me that he keeps that guitar with him at all times to warm up and to write.
It means a lot that our creativity inspires artists like Richard….
Ken Haas, CEO – Reverend Guitars

Richard played in our band for many years. I can’t tell you how many, because (a) I haven’t done the math, and (b) we still consider him part of our band, albeit on an extended sabbatical.
I did a lot of recording with Richard before, during and after our years on the road together. There aren’t too many people from my studio years that I consider enduring friends, but Richard is the real deal.
No matter how much time has gone by, it’s pretty easy to pick up and resume where we left off. Here are some things I can tell you about Richard:
1. Any time Rihard recommends a recording to me, or sends a CD to me, I listen—because I know it’s going to be interesting and great, since his taste never fails.
2. Sometimes when we were recording, Richard would put down his guitar and switch to playing a shaker. This was a lovely passive-aggressive way of saying “this track sucks.” And he was always right.
3. We could make a movie called “When Richard met Tina,” because we were there. His family is his joy, and ours too.
4. If I made of list of my favorites among albums I played on, Richard was right there on most of them too. We probably did some stinkers, but I only remember the cool ones.
5. My wife and I went to an opening, at the Gene Autry Museum in Los Angeles a few years ago, of a show featuring garments from the collection of Marty Stuart. Later in the evening, I stepped into the men’s room, where there was one other fellow standing at the urinal beside me.
It was Marty Stuart, whom I recognized but had never met. During the awkward moment that followed, I said, “I think we have a mutual friend, Richard Bennett.”
It was the perfect greeting in that situation.I suspect there are a hell of a lot of people in our business that I could say that to and get the same enthusiastic reaction that I got from Marty.
6. I did a little bit of recording in Nashville a few years ago. I’ll confess that I’m not the biggest fan of the town (there’s a meme circulating on the web now that goes:
“Nashville—come for the music, leave because of the music"), but I’d go there anytime if it included a visit to the Bennetts. I think they are special people brought into our world to demonstrate to us how to behave properly in any circumstances.
7. Reading all the other comments here from people who said Richard was their best friend makes me feel kinda like the guy who found out his high school girlfriend had been screwing the whole football team. (cue laugh track.)
But, in truth, if Richard says you’re okay, I’m sure you’re okay.
Tom Hensley, pianist with the Neil Diamond band

Richard is the kindest gentlest man . I have heard him pull a Tornado, a flock of wild geese and a two tone '56 hardtop convertible Ford out of his Guitar.
Greg Brown, musician

Richard is one of those people you have to meet in your lifetime, a gentleman, a friend, an amazing guitar player, who plays gracefully and has an unmistakable tone !
He is a great influence to me, I´m a big fan!
Sergio Dab Stratoman - guitar player , songwriter , producer

As well as being a wonderful human being, Richard has one of the best grooves of all time.
To sit in a pocket so well and make music feel so good is very rare skill and why his company is so highly prized by many of the greatest songwriters.
And on top of that his solo albums display his incredible talent as a producer, writer and pedal steel player.
I always look forward to hanging with Richard when he's in town, he has the best stories, sage like advice (often without even realising it) and I'm hoping that some of his humble genius may rub off on me.
Justin Sandercoe, guitarist, songwriter, artist, producer, guitar teacher

Richard Bennett is a great man and a great musician...first rate and high tone.
Bo Ramsey, singer, songwriter, guitarist , producer

I claim that Richard Bennett is the (so-far) unsung hero behind what is now considered Americana. Richard would deny being responsible for an entire genre of music but his contribution to the artists that initiated the “Americana” genre is incalculable. Thanks to his advice, his production savvy, his “Ginsu Knife” editing skills, and --always-- his beautiful guitar playing, Richard helped me and my fellow artists like Kevin Gordon, Phil Lee, and Duane Jarvis and of course legends like Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris and so many more understand how to produce their own music and find a nurturing way to sustain careers as recording artists.

Richard was the catalyst for taking my work and myself seriously. And he did so simply by enthusiasm; playing on cuts, listening to demos and rough mixes, and on many occasions simply picking up an instrument and suggesting "what about this?"---perhaps a Mills Brothers trick or something used by Nat Cole and Oscar Moore-- which would invariably be the very thing that would glue a track —or an album--together.

I'm especially grateful to Richard for playing a terrific solo on a song of mine called "Life of A Fool” which eventually made its way to a film soundtrack. The subsequent fee allowed me pay for the birth of my son. During mixing, we were having a trouble getting enough of a "wood" sound out of the upright bass. Richard—who professed to know nothing about a mixing board—walked over to the "EQ" section and to the shock of the engineer, turned one knob all the way up and made the mix explode out of the speakers. So much for the guitar player who doesn't know how to run a mixing board.

I also can't thank him enough for loaning me his Jimmie Rodgers box, which led to the discovery of an outtake with Jimmie Rodgers and bluesman Clifford Gibson which inspired an entire album, Meridian Rising.

I'm sure I've been an idiot in his presence more than once. I'm still ever in awe of what he has to offer and thankful he still takes my calls. One last anecdote about “Life of A Fool.” Many years after that track was cut, Richard came to see me perform in a tiny club in Nashville. He took a table close to the stage and ordered a beer and a meal. As we played the song, I handed Richard my guitar to play the solo. He sighed, put his fork down, and looking slightly irritated, played a killer solo, brought the house down, gave me back my guitar, and went back to eating his Shepard's pie. Nashville will never know a cooler cat than Richard Bennett.
Paul Burch, musician

I first met Richard several years ago in relation to some amplifier repair work and was delighted to find that he's among the most gracious, generous, and talented individuals I've met in the industry.
He's a truly inspirational player who elevates the craft of guitar playing. He's always got the perfect note, phrase, and tone to complement the piece, and the flawless and inspired execution to make it sound effortless and 'right' for the song.
I'm a big fan of Richard's music. He has an uncanny ability to manipulate mood, space, and genre to create authentically evocative compositions. When I listen to 'For the Newly Blue', I'm genuinely transported to Nashville, and a dozen other places too.
Mark Bartel, designer / builder - Tone King Amplifiers

I first met Richard 10 years ago when I opened for Mark Knopfler on a US tour. I already knew about him from my Steve Earle connection.
All I can say is he's a gentleman and a fantastic musician. He kindly contributed some guitar playing to my album The Sailors Revenge ( produced by Mark) and I have worn out my copy of Richards album Code Red Cloud Nine.
I hope to work with him again someday.
Bap Kennedy, musician, singer , songwriter

Having read some of the other contributions to this well deserved tribute to Richard, I wondered what else there is left to say about this great musician and special man.
I had already been a pop musician for many years playing Conga and percussion before I made the transition to drums with Mark Knopfler and very quickly became fascinated by The Blues.
It was Richard and Mark who guided me towards a deeper appreciation of historic American, Roots Music and this influence has opened my mind and sensitivities to another world, from another time.

Richard Bennett is a grand master musician, a connoisseur of music whether vintage or contemporary. We have had endless late night conversations about music and overtime talking with him has shaped my attitude towards it.
Richard is humble and self deprecating, he is sensitive but also fiercely witty.
So wise guys,watch out!

I feel privileged to have ever rubbed shoulders with the man and even more so to be able to call him my dear friend.
In my book Richard Bennet cannot be topped.
End of!!
Much love
Danny Cummings, drummer , percussionist

Richard is an amazing musician. He always plays what is right for the song and never gets in the way or overplays -
it's only since touring with Mark Knopfler & Richard that I've realised how incredibly difficult this is to do!
You only have to look at his discography or talk to fellow musicians to realise how much of an inspiration he is to so many people and I totally include myself in that very long list.
I always look forward to sharing a stage and touring with Richard - I'm now planning records that will involve him - just any excuse to get to make music with him and to hang out with my pal again.
John McCusker, fiddle player, folk musician, record producer and composer

Every time I play with Richard Bennett I feel like I've learned something. The dude is taste personified, whether we're talking about music or anything else.
His sense of humor is like his playing and writing - he doesn't need to hit you over the head with it; just some very well-chosen words or notes.
In a musical climate where listeners are bombarded with extremes of everything, melody and tone are rare qualities. This is where Richard's playing and composing really shine above the desperate fray.
His music beckons and you want to go for that ride. I've enjoyed getting to be a part of Rich's albums, playing sax, harmonica and uke and writing string arrangements.
He brings the good stuff out every time. He is truly one of Music City's best assets.
Jim Hoke, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, studio musician

After Richard generously added his sublime guitar to a record I was making with Peter Cooper, I was having a conversation with him about my upcoming travels. My wife and I were going to Rome for the first time. "You've never been?" asked Richard? "No, never."
He got a gleam in his eye and said: "You must - absolutely must - go to dinner at Ristorante Lagana . Tell Mimmo I sent you. Promise me you'll go."

I promised, and a month later my wife and I found ourselves walking along Via dell'Orso, a beautiful narrow street, filled with cafés and shops, looking for Lagana.
It was late afternoon on Friday, the tiny restaurant wasn't open yet, but we noted where it was and returned after dark. It was bustling.
Would we get a table? A large, loud man was greeting everyone with hugs and kisses and handshakes, passing out glasses of prosecco and dropping exquisite plates of antipasto.
We stepped into the dining room and he came up to us, "Yes, hello!"

"We are looking for Mimmo," we said.
"I am Mimmo!"
Perfect.
"We were hoping to have dinner tonight," I said with a slightly worried look on my face.
Mimo looked around the room, looking equally concerned.
"Ahhhh...."

I said, "Richard Bennett sent us...."
That sparked something. Mimo's face lit up.
"Richard! You are friends of Richard?!" he cried. He took my shoulder and walked with me to the wall of the entranceway, where I looked up to see a framed page from the Richard Bennett website.
It was a blog entry of Richard's, a description of his memorable meal at Lagana the last time he played in Rome with Mark Knopfler.
I quickly read through it, my mouth watering. I had to have dinner here. As soon as possible.

Mimmo smiled and said: "He is a good friend, Richard!"
"He said we had to eat here," I nearly shouted over the din of the room.
"Yes, yes, of course," he said, his arm now across my shoulder. He steered us to two folding chairs outside on the street, under an umbrella.
He gestured for us to sit, and zipped away. A minute later a waiter came by with two glasses of prosecco -- excellent prosecco -- and smiled with a nod, as if to say, "all is taken care of."
It didn't take long. Just the time to finish our sparkling wine. Mimmo came to us, and with a wave of his hand led us back inside and steered us to the little table at the window looking out on the little street where we just were. He waved two more glasses of wine to our table, the waiters moving quickly at the maestro's slightest gesture.

His torrent of Italian directed at the waiter included -- I'm certain -- the words "Richard" and "Bennett." The food began coming out from the kitchen.
Plate after plate of antipasto, fish, vegetables, olives, meats, pastas. Ahhh, the pasta. Fresh fettucini in cream. Mimmo appeared with a little black ball in his hand.

"You like'a truffle?"
Oh. Yes. Please.
In his other hand, a small grater. His hands moved quickly over our plates, leaving a few thin slices of black truffle. He paused to smile at us. To my wife: "I think a little more, yes?"
She nods, as several more slices land on her fettucini. A few more on mine as well. The aroma, even now in memory, is exquisite.

"You tell Richard, his friends, they are Mimmo's friends!"

And with a wink, he left us to carry on with perhaps the greatest meal of our lives.
Eric Brace, Grammy-nominated producer, the front man of Last Train Home, half of a duo with songsmith Peter Cooper, and founder of East Nashville indie label Red Beet Records
I’ve known Richard Bennett for almost 20 years now, and he’s just a fabulously nice guy and has become a great friend,
not to mention an unbelievably great guitar player!
I have enjoyed making many records with him, some of his own, and several for other artists. I always learn something from him whenever we work together.
He has definitely been around the world a few times and knows lots of stuff about recording. He’s always pushing the envelope a bit, and we always get around to doing something we’ve never done before in the studio.
He cannot be stumped with his vast knowledge of music. A couple of times I’ve come up with what I thought was some amazing obscure and cool album or artist from the bizarre distant past heyday of recordings,
and Richard has always heard of whomever it was, and usually has played on some of their albums, ha!
Looking forward to working on a few new projects in the future with Richard!
George Bradfute, multiinstrumentalist, producer and mixing engineer.
I've had the pleasure of working with Richard Bennett on various creative projects for close to forty years, and from day one I've revered Richard as an artist of immense integrity and taste.
His guitar playing and production skills are equally matched by his intelligence and wicked sense of humor.
The man is a walking, talking conduit to the pure essence of music. I Love the guy.
Rodney Crowell, singer, songwriter, and producer.


Richard and I met at his CD Release show for Themes From A Rainy Decade and hit it off.
As he began introducing me to a trove of records (vinyl & shellac), sharing meals talking about the guitar, and inviting me along to sessions where I watched every move (trying to soak up as much as I possibly could), he truly became my mentor, dear friend, and inspiration.
When the phone would ring with a gig, more often than not it was on account of his graciousness, guidance, and recommendation, which always humbled me, because here was here someone I’d admired so much and learned so much from saying that I was ready, even before I thought myself that I was.
He probably is to me what Al Casey was to him. It would not be a stretch in the least to say that his encouragement and support have been behind literally every step forward (no matter how great or small) since then. Plus, he got me into collecting 78s.
When I grow up I want to be Richard Bennett.
Sean Weaver, guitarist , singer, songwriter.


I am trying to remember when I first met Richard. It had to be sometime in the late 80's.
Whenever it was, I feel lucky we got to know one another. Richard is not only a stellar guitarist and super-intuitive musician, but he's a fountain of knowledge when it comes to all things musical.
He is also a musicologist with good manners. No one-uppance to be found! Richard is always a true gentleman and a kind soul who keeps the situation inclusive as he knows the magic is in the way people interact.
He treats vinyl spinning hang-time as open-hearted as he does when running a session as a producer or playing in an ensemble.
I recently got to interview Richard for The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's Nashville Cats series and it was deeply satisfying to help share his amazing career. Richard Bennett for Congress!
Bill Lloyd, songwriter, musician, recording artist and producer.


"I was a fan of Richard Bennet's work long before I met him. Since then, I've had the opportunity to work with him, and every time has been a priceless lesson.
Richard's playing always seems like the perfect distillation of musical thought, nothing could be added or taken away from one of his phrases without compromising it's integrity.
I've told him that he plays the way the rest of want to when we grow up!"
Andy Reiss, Musician, Singer, Songwriter, Recording Artist.


What can I add to what's already been said? Richard and I did one Neil Diamond tour together, and it was a outstandingl!
I've always dug his style and tone, as well as the iconic parts he came up with on Neil's earlier recordings.
Richard is also a good guy who really cares about the details of every project he's a part of... Keep On Rockin', Mr. Bennett!
Hadley Hockensmith, professional recording guitarist and songwriter .


We love Richard and send him our best.
Bellamy Brothers, pop and country music duo.


Ciao brother Richard!
Very nice to see there is a "Richard Bennett Fansite"!!! Very very cool!!!!! :).
Send my love to Tina and to all the Bennetts, we miss you so much here in Rome.
Here we are all fine and we can't wait to have another outstanding dinner at Laganà...
Mimmo is always asking me about you :) ,
Lots of love
Marco Caviglia guitarist, singer, musician

It's a gorgeous Sunday morning with unseasonably cool temperatures. It was 38° in Columbia this morning. The sky is ridiculously crystal blue cloudless clear. I'm wrapping up moving my vinyl record collection. It is, hopefully, one of the last times I have to move this Goliath mass of recorded music that has been with me all my life. It will end up in my office in a couple of months. Our sweet friend Eric Ivey is building the vinyl shelves for the office, just like he did the cabinetry that holds tens of thousands of CDs.

Every time I make a large move to a new location, whether it is moving this collection or moving into a new residence or office, the first thing I do is set up my stereo and choose what will be the soundtrack of the event and place. It is an important ritual. Yesterday, the soundtrack was Denise LaSalle, Lattimore, Little Milton, Etta James, Bobby Rush, Millie Jackson, Isley Brothers and so on. Mary and I love that stuff and it is great work music!

That said, I'm not posting this because I'm moving stuff. I'm posting this as an appreciation to my friend Richard Bennett. So when I felt this wonderful crisp morning air and was greeted by this sunny technicolor blue sky, the only music I wanted to hear to finish my job was Richard Bennett's gloriously air conditioned instrumental music.

For those of you who don't know Richard Bennett and his music, his credits are impressive. As a producer, Richard has worked with Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, Marty Stuart (who's new album is excellent, by the way) and many others. As a guitar player, his list of credits is staggering. He played with Neil Diamond's band on the classic live Hot August Night album and stayed with Neil through 70s and early 80s. He's been Mark Knopfler's right-hand guitar guy for years and now he is back with Neil Diamond's band.

Richard jokingly said to me that Mark Knopfler called his instrumental music "relentlessly melodic". When I hear it, I think Tommy Tedesco, Chet Atkins and Ennio Marricone got together to celebrate their love for music. It is music that suggests images of expansive Western vistas and Endless Summer Pacific sunsets and of the bygone era of sophisticated 60's and 70's Music Row Nashville.

There is a soft humble strength and dignity to the music. There is not a wasted note. Anyone who knows Richard Bennett will quickly say these are traits of him as a person.

Richard chooses his notes like a fine seasoned writer chooses words. Every note and beat matter. When you are good at what you do, it becomes easier to disengage the mind and couple your years of practice with life and create something that truly breathes. When I listen to Richard's beautifully considered music, I feel the space around me fall in tune.

Some might regard his work as sophisticated easy listening music, but I'm fine with that in a world full of so much static. I think Richard would consider it a compliment. So I wrap up my big album move this beautiful morning with Richard's lovely rich soundscapes tuning the air all the around me. So Richard, thanks for creating music that makes my life better when I listen to it.

It's hard for me to pick a favorite track of his, but if you like what you hear, support a wonderful artist and by his CDs.
Rick Clark , Music Supervisor bij Hap and Leonard, Instigator bij Deliverance Sisters en Film/TV Music Supervisor & Music Producer bij Rick Clark Productions / Blurge
As a young music publisher I found myself in the role of recording a lot of demos. At the time many of the players were busy making a lot of money recording masters or doing road work for a big artist so it wasn’t always easy to hire them. I had signed Elizabeth Cook in ’97 and I wanted to do some “artist demos” that we could shop to the labels.

I called Richard to see if he was free and would consider playing guitar. I figured it was a long shot so I told him I would pay him extra if he would do it. He told me to just pay him what everybody else was getting (demo scale…) and that he would be glad to. He showed up and of course he was amazing. I was rather nervous. I mean Richard was not only a great player but also a bad ass producer as well.

So I’m supposed to sit in the control room and produce him? He was so kind and humble that it put me at ease and we had a blast and made some great music. I learned something in that experience about respect and humility and real power. Six months later Elizabeth Cook signed a deal with Atlantic Records.
Jeff Gordon

It has been my pleasure to work with Richard Bennett on recordings I have produced by Hal Ketchum, Iris DeMent and Tom Rush.

As a "sideman" guitar player Richard's focus is always on doing what he can to support the singer and the song. He listens carefully and then chooses the right instrument for the job, adding texture to the track as well as impeccable timing.

As a producer working with Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris or Iris DeMent Richard brings the same supportive approach, working to bring out the best in these very different artists. He shuns the spotlight, preferring to let the artist shine. This is the hallmark of a generous, caring man. I am proud to be his friend.
Jim Rooney , Producer of recordings by Nanci Griffith, John Prine, Iris DeMent, Hall Ketchum and others

Richard Bennett kickstarted my career in Nashville as he has for so many others. He was a fan of our band, Jeannie Smith and the Hurricanes in the late 1980's.
After we lost our deal at Columbia, he hired me to do some painting at his home. Richard and Marty Stuart were doing some post production at the house for Marty's new record for MCA, Hillbilly Rock.
One thing led to another, and about a month later I was in a bus with Marty headed to an Austin City Limits shoot, and life was never the same. Friends for life.
Dave Durocher

As anyone reading the testimonials here will realize...Richard is a great guitarist and an even greater guy.
Much loved, admired and fought over by his adoring fans. Actually I mean " fan". BUT and its a big BUT.
As any manager knows, none of this means diddly squat if his feet smell on the tour bus. Or if his deodorant fails.
Or a constant diet of refried beans and tacos leads to " gas".
Having sat behind Richard for many a happy mile I can confirm that he has none of these afflictions, so qualifies as the IDEAL band member and touring musician.
And on a more serious note, totally professional, a master of his instrument, a fine backing singer, and reasonably priced. As someone said, " Have twangy guitar, own Winnebago, will travel.
My very, very best wishes to him .
Ed Bicknell, Former Manager Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler.

How fortunate for the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble that Richard Bennett became interested in producing the group before there was label interest.
As a member, and particularly the guitarist in the group, I was thrilled to have an opportunity to work with him. There was no time for intimidation, for my first two minute personal encounter with Richard laid all to rest. Over the course of recording and mixing, I got to see a true heavyweight apply his art and craft with a very steady hand, while being surprisingly democratic with 14 individuals.
Toward the end of the process, he asked if I would be interested in teaching his son, Nick, who was 12 and ready to go. I was really honored, and knew that weekly, organized lessons from a teacher would be great for him, while still being able to 'nick' a mother lode of great stuff from his Dad.
From the beginning, Nick had great hands (as guitarists say), was an eager learner, and had been raised to appreciate a very wide array of music. I was fortunate to jump on that bus and watch him grow. It is a great feeling to see a student live up to and exceed all of what I believed him capable.
A bit later, I was writing with a Warner artist, Bill Miller, who came in one day to say his producer was coming to hear one that we had written. Enter Richard. Being in the middle of a second song, we asked for his input on the bridge, etc.. He was ever the gentleman, making sure we absolutely wanted him in on the song as a writer. Of course, we did!
Random thoughts: I got to use his beautiful '34 Gretsch arch top he got from Al Casey on a track, he had production credit on later Mandolin Ensemble tracks, Nick kept getting better and better, and our recent dinner in Tampa in April. Kudos to a great family.
Gene Ford, guitarist / guitar Instructor - Tampa, Florida

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