Kim­ber­ley’s voice in Perth

Guardian Express - - CIRCUS - Sara Fitz­patrick

COUN­TRY singer John Ben­nett does not get writer’s block.

Mak­ing mu­sic for him is as easy as sit­ting under a tree with a gui­tar and let­ting the rhythm flow.

Ev­ery­thing he needs is at his doorstep in his re­mote and re­dearthed home­town of Bidyadanga in the Kim­ber­ley re­gion.

His lyrics speak of the mud crabs he hunts, the land­scape he wan­ders and the char­ac­ters he loves.

Ben­nett’s new al­bum, Coun­try is Call­ing, honours his younger brother Gar­rad, who died two years ago.

“I taught him how to play drums: he was my drum­mer,” the singer-song­writer said. “I would look back over my shoul­der and have my brother there, but that’s all gone and it’s very sad.”

In­spired by WA band The Pi­gram Broth­ers, Ben­nett picked up a gui­tar at 15.

“Mu­sic just came nat­u­rally to me I guess; I was good at it straight away, teach­ing my­self how to play just by lis­ten­ing,” he said. “Be­fore that, I was in a band and play­ing drums but I didn’t want to be a drum­mer any­more, I just wanted to be the front man.”

Dubbed ‘the voice of the Kim­berly’, Ben­nett said he was of­ten hum­bled by the re­ac­tion his mu­sic had on fans.

“You never re­alise what you can do with mu­sic and your sto­ry­telling,” he said. “It can touch peo­ple, it can make peo­ple cry and think back on their past.

“I get amaz­ing feed­back. It makes me want to do this more and more.”

John Ben­nett, of Bidyadanga.

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