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The Harp Guitar Collective & Friends
The Water is Wide: A Tribute to Stephen Bennett

Two years in the making, this is an all-new "tribute album" to our friend, beloved harp-guitarist/composer Stephen Bennett.

We surprised him with it at the 10th annual Harp Guitar Gathering, which Stephen founded in 2003.

An unprecedented project in every way, featuring all new recordings that include new inspirational pieces written expressly for Stephen, cover versions of favorite Bennett tunes and special dedicated selections – with a grand finale featuring nearly sixty SB fans playing along with one of Stephen’s original recordings from 1999.

Includes 24-page keepsake booklet featuring photos and tribute essays from the 14 soloists, testimonials from the 48 additional musicians performing on the grand finale, with an Introduction by Gregg Miner, Preface by John Thomas, and Foreword by Andy McKee.

Track Listings

1. Gregg Miner The Tunesmith (2007 Kathy Wingert harp guitar)
2. Andy Wahlberg Bennett Diction (c.1917 Dyer harp guitar)
3. Don Alder Man from Lady Lane (c.1916 Dyer harp guitar)
4. Mike Doolin November Next  (2011 Mike Doolin harp guitar)
5. Pete Bradshaw Waltz for a Maple Tree (Bennett) (2008 Kathy Wingert harp guitar)
6. Frank Doucette G Wiz (2007 Kathy Wingert harp guitar)
7. Carter Lancaster Reprise for Stephen (c.1910 Dyer harp guitar)
8. Jim Bennett Elephant’s Dance (Bennett) (Steinway piano) 
9. Larry Berwald,
with Gregg Miner
I Knew It Was You (Bennett) (LB: Johnson resonator guitar, GM: Wingert harp guitar)
10. Hirokatsu Takai Yokohama SB (K-Yairi double-neck modified Koto Harp Guitar)
11. Joe Morgan Right at the Light (c.1906 Dyer harp guitar)
12. Scott Burwell Avocado Breakfast (Holloway harp guitar)
13. Tommy Emmanuel Aura Lee (trad) (Tony Karol baritone acoustic guitar, Maton EGB808TE acoustic guitar)
14. Kim Person You’ve Got a Friend (C. King) (Lead vocal, 1948 Martin 0018 6-string acoustic guitar, percussion; with Pam Rose, Lana Puckett & Tommy Emmanuel: background vocals)
15. Friends of Stephen Bennett The Water is Wide (trad) 58 musicians play "with" Stephen: Credits here

"Why does Stephen Bennett’s music have such universal appeal?

"As all 65 participants say in one form or another, this is not just any music and Stephen is not just some enigmatic artist. All who hear him agree that he is much more than a consistently prolific composer and talented guitarist. His music touches us profoundly.

"For over 25 years, Stephen has influenced hundreds of guitarists and inspired many of those to make the leap into harp guitar. In fact, it would be fair to say that there might be no harp guitar movement today, if not for Stephen. After all, it was his idea to hold something he called The Harp Guitar Gathering, “just to see who might show up.” He thought it would be nice to meet each other and share our love of this instrument. 

"As more than one fan has said, 'As great a musician and composer as Stephen is, he's an even better human being.' And so we celebrate the man: a true inspiration, an outstanding talent, a wonderful person and a great friend."

– Gregg Miner, Harp Guitar Music founder and Stephen Bennett fan


"The Water Is Wide is an homage not just to a musician but to an unusual instrument. Stephen Bennett is one of the greatest practitioners of the harp guitar, which has a separate "arm" with extra unfretted bass strings that can be used for plucking. The 15 tracks are performed by musicians for whom Bennett has been mentor, friend, and inspiration. "The Tunesmith," composed and performed by Gregg Miner (who also produced the CD), ebbs and flows like water, capturing the impressionistic quality of Bennett's pieces, and is played on his first Kathy Wingert harp guitar. Andy Wahlberg's "Bennett Diction" is intricate and jazzy, while Don Alder's "Man from Lady Lane" exploits the rumbling dronelike effects and lush sound that are the special characteristics of this kind of guitar. "G Wiz" by Frank Doucette uses "Bennett tuning" (which Doucette explains is characterized by a high G), while Hirokatsu Takai's Asian-influenced "Yokohama SB" emphasizes high-pitched tones. Other musicians play Bennett's compositions: Pete Bradshaw gives a lovely rendition of "Waltz for a Maple Tree" and Larry Berwald (resonator) and Gregg Miner (harp guitar) duet on "I Knew It Was You." Tommy Emmanuel's arrangement of the traditional "Aura Lee" is a standout, stuffed with superfast runs, jazzy sections, mixed tempos, and Hawaiian-sounding slides. To top it off, the title track extends Bennett's original 1999 recording of "The Water Is Wide" to include 58 musicians, many of whom are regulars at the annual Harp Guitar Gathering, which Bennett founded - all obsessed with this fascinating instrument." © Céline Keating, Minor7th.com

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CDs & DVDs by Stephen Bennett, John Doan, Muriel Anderson, Andy McKee, Stacy Hobbs, Tom Shinness, Dan LaVoie, James Kline, Larry Berwald, Bill Dutcher, Gregg Miner, Pasquale Taraffo
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