Tunes is a wonderful collection from Stephen, including the mixed metered Fields of Plastic, flatpicking marvel Afton Mountain, and one of this writer's all-time favorites - C.E.O.
About C.E.O., Stephen writes, "That's Comanche Executive Officer. This is for a friend. When Bill started taking lessons from me some years ago, he told me he was retired from a couple of defense contracting firms. I later found out that he had been CEO of both of them. Bill is also part Comanche - and the irony that this descendant of folks who had given the U.S. Army such a deservedly hard time would a century later be so vital to its efficacy, struck me as amusing and inspired this tune."
Stephen Bennett was born in Oregon, grew up in New York and has lived in Virginia for the better part of the last three decades. Since his 1987 win at the National Flatpicking Championship in Winfield, Kansas (The Walnut Valley Festival), he has become known as a versatile and original guitarist who consistently garners critical praise and audience enthusiasm for his recordings and live performances.
With his stellar musicianship, a relaxed stage presence and quick wit, Stephen has performed throughout the United States, as well as in France, England, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. He has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion. With a dozen self-produced CD recordings to his credit at this writing, a new Stephen Bennett recording is probably in the works.
Aside from his work on the six-string guitar, Stephen is also one of the world's premiere performers on the Harp Guitar, an instrument he inherited from his great-grandfather. As a composer and arranger, he has created an enduring repertoire and a significant body of recorded work for this instrument. He organized and hosted the world's first harp guitar convention - the Harp Guitar Gathering - held November 2003 in Williamsburg, Virginia. Slide work on his1930 National resophonic steel guitar is also an important part of Stephen's instrumental diversity.
The image of Stephen Bennett embracing his harp guitar is the one that tends to linger. The fact that Stephen is only too happy to champion the cause of the harp guitar may inadvertently obscure his abilities on the six-string instrument. In what is becoming known as the Golden Age of Guitar Luthiery (guitar-making), it's easy to overlook the fact that this is also the Golden Age of Guitar Playing. With six strings or more, as one of the most original and prolific composers and arrangers for the guitar on the current scene, Stephen Bennett is clearly a part of the latter heritage.