Thursday, October 15, 2015

Music heals! A story for all Singer/Songwriters

Music heals! A story for all Singer/Songwriters

As a singer/songwriter, we often think our efforts go unnoticed or unappreciated. We often think our work doesn't matter if our songs aren't recorded by a major artist. I have felt this way many times. When those thoughts enter my brain, I remember this story.

I was singing at a Sunday service at a small church in Columbia, TN. I had been invited to perform by Sharon, a coworker of my wife. Sharon brought her Mother to church with her this particular Sunday. She seemed like a wonderful older woman.

Backing up to that morning. I had already had a crazy morning and was rushed to get to the church. At this point I wished I had never agreed to sing. Yes, I was in a bad mood and was not handling it well. I finally made it to the church just in time to get on the stage and start singing. I sang a few of my old favorite gospel tunes and a few that I had written. A voice in my head (God) told me to sing "Amazing Grace".

I decided to end my performance by singing "Amazing Grace". After singing my final song, I proceeded to get off the stage and head back to my seat. Once the service was over, my Wife's coworker came up to me and hugged me like I've never been hugged. With tears in her eyes she said, "Thank you, thank you for giving me my Mother back!" She hugged me again and would not let go. At that point I did not know what she meant by "giving her Mother back. I inquired once the hugs were over.

Through her tears she proceeded to tell me that her Mother suffers from dementia as she is very old. She had not heard her Mother sing in years. She told me as soon as I started singing "Amazing Grace", her Mother started singing along with me. She had forgotten what a beautiful voice she had. She told me it took her back to her childhood and a time before her Mother was ill.

Now I understand why she hugged me so tight. Now I understand that no talent is ever wasted or goes unnoticed. Now I understand the real reason why I sing and write songs. We should never question that little voice in our head. Never doubt that each moment can be inspired.

Love, peace and joy to all,



Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Loving Mary - Drinking with you.

I told you they were awesome!!!

If you will remember, last year I decided I wanted Loving Mary to perform at Phil's Jam for FSHD. I was so excited when they agreed to perform. Everybody was asking, "Who is Loving Mary"?? I told them all, "You just wait, they'll be awesome and they'll be huge"!! Meeting Rebecca Lynn Howard and the band is truly one of the highlights of my time here in Nashville. Having them perform at my fundraiser was huge for me. The last Phil's Jam was in July of 2014.

Since then they have really done some incredible things. They backed up Steven Tyler on the finale of American Idol. They have played music all over the country and made us all very proud. They have released some incredible music and I think you need to check it out. I was a fan before, but now I might just be a super fan.

I knew this group was going to impress, especially with the talent level in the group. Go check out their website or simply google them. I think you will be impressed too.

Enjoy this beautiful Fall weather and listen to some Loving Mary!!!

Peace and Love,


P.S Read My story of hope, regarding life with FSHD.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Growing Conversation with Kathy McHugh

"The world needs your happy ass!" Kathy McHugh

Every now and then you run across a person who lights up your world. Someone that has that indescribable ability to lift your spirits with just a few words on a page. When God allows a person like this to cross your path it makes you briefly understand how it all works. How we are all connected. How there is order in the Universe and how wonderful life can be if we simply acknowledge the beauty of a random meeting. It restores your faith in all things. Whenever this happens to me, I make sure to tell the person that they have affected my world in a positive manner.

Kathy is such a person to me. It all started by me reading a few Facebook quotes from her and that lead to me clicking on Kathy's website, The Growing Conversation. Then I followed her on twitter and Instagram. Then Kristi and I went to hear her speak at The City Winery a few weeks back. Her words are healing, empowering, true and brilliant. She uses stories from her own life to inspire you to believe that you can get through this crazy experience called life. She is funny, enlightening and real. At the very, very least she can bring a smile to your face. This conversation of Kathy's is about being happy in a place that is truly imperfect and to embrace that imperfection and grow from that. Feeling pain in a way that you grow from the hurt versus push it aside and be doomed to relive it a year later. Embracing pain, joy, loss and everything that crosses your path.

I could go on and on. Take some time and spread some Love today for someone in your life that has made a difference. That is my goal with this post today. Kathy you made us smile when we needed a smile. That is a precious gift that did not go unnoticed. I am sure there will be many more.

Thank you!!!

Peace and Joy to all,


Sunday, August 30, 2015

How Wayne Dyer changed my life.

This is a repost from 2008. It was actually my very first blog post. As soon as I heard of Wayne Dyer's passing today, I felt I had to repost it in his honor. God used this great man to help so many people believe again.

Hello everyone!!

Here's a quick Wayne Dyer story and a perfect example of how God works in mysterious ways. It was 2000 and I was in a horrible relationship, considering selling my guitars (I had already sold one) and never playing music again or writing or anything. I was at the lowest point that I can remember. I was sitting in my living room pondering everything and wondering what the hell I did to deserve all this...pity party. Deep down I still wanted to move to Nashville, write music, perform and live the dream, but it seemed so far away, I was ready to quit.

I was flipping the channels and paused on PBS just long enough to hear Wayne Dyer say, "Don't let your music die with you." Now that made me immediately break down. It was like God himself had spoken in an audible voice straight to me.

So, that week I wrote a song, "Don't let your fire go out.". It was the first of many songs that jump started me. A year later, the bad relationship was history, I was living in Nashville and starting a wonderful journey that has led me right here and now.

It was an amazing experience and I will never forget it. I just wanted to share that with you all.

Keep the faith!!

Peace and love,


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ask yourself...who do you write for?

Who do you write for?

I am not going to lie. I have been struggling lately when it comes to songwriting. I've not been struggling to write, just pondering a serious question. What is the point of writing a song if nobody is going to hear it. I think it is a common thought that passes through the heads of many songwriters. I even took a little break from songwriting, but my subconscious didn't get the memo because I wake up with tunes and lyrics in my head.

A lot of songwriters, me included, think too much about the end result like radio play, major artist cuts and the like. But way back when, songwriting to me meant living in the moment and capturing a feeling versus making money.
For example:

"Are the streets paved in gold?
Does heaven look as beautiful as we've been told?
Is it everything you hoped it would be?
What I really want to know, is what's it like in eternity?"

This is a verse of a song I wrote many years ago after losing my Dad. I have never sang this song for anyone. I really don't plan on it because it is so personal and sad. I wrote this song for myself. I have written many songs that I have never played for anyone. These were written entirely for me for either therapeutic reasons or just to put a thought down and maybe come back to it later. Sometimes I steal a line from a song I wrote years ago.

I posed this very question to my songwriter friends on Facebook. "Would you continue to write songs if you knew nobody would hear them?" The majority said they would continue writing regardless of the audience or lack thereof. I found that the majority of artists perform their art for personal reasons that run so deep it cannot be explained. One friend said they can't imagine their life without songwriting. To me, that's sounds like something on the soul level. That is so much more than a hobby.

I had a family member tell me once, "When you finally get Nashville outta your system, come on back home to Missouri." Well songwriting is something that never leaves your system I've found. Living here in Nashville is just a bonus and I'm not going away anytime soon.

For me...I just want to write a songs that means something to me. I truly do not care if anyone hears them. But it would be icing on the cake if they did hear and they did enjoy. Speaking of which, here is the link to my music.

I hope you continue writing for you. If you build it, they will come...right? I sure hope so.

Love to all,


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Steve Wariner, CGP, Singer, Songwriter

Steve Wariner

My Wife and I had the pleasure of sitting a few rows back from the stage to see Steve Wariner the other night at the City Winery in Nashville, TN. I knew Steve's background from working with Chet Atkins and his songwriting talent. I guess I had forgotten what an amazing guitar player he is.

I was raised on Chet Atkins music. Countless evening were spent listening to my Uncle play all of Chet Atkins songs on his Martin D-28. Those are very precious memories to me. Listening to Steve play all my favorites the other night made me appreciate this music all over again.

I was also thrilled to see that Mr. Wariner has passed his talents onto his children. He has his sons on stage with him jamming. I was so impressed with both of them.

All in all, this is one of the best shows I have EVER seen. If you get a chance to see Steve Wariner, you won't be disappointed.

God bless and play on,


Saturday, April 25, 2015

MAD BLACK MAGIC is here!! New song and video released by 2Steel Girls.

I'm so proud of my friends 2Steel Girls for putting it all on the line and chasing their dream. This is their brand new release "Mad Black Magic".

All I can say is I love it! I hope everyone takes the time to watch, listen and share it. As a fan of 2Steel Girls, I want to hear their music on the radio soon. As friends of 2Steel Girls I really want all their dreams to come true.

Have a blessed weekend and keep the faith!


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Life with story of hope.

 I first started noticing muscle weakness in my shoulders when I was 16 or 17 years old. Prior to that I thought I was just a normal teen. However, I never understood why I couldn’t run as fast as the other guys or why I couldn’t do sit-ups or pull-ups. I just assumed I was a weakling and needed to exercise more. I got made fun of because I ran so slow as early as I can remember. The thing about FSHD or fascioscapulohumeral dystrophy, is that it progresses very slowly. You don’t realize you have lost another muscle until you go to do something and realize you can’t do it anymore. Atrophy is a word I'm very familiar with.

     Example: When I was in my early twenties, I loved to hunt, especially bow hunt. I loved archery and was actually a pretty good shot. One early morning I am in the woods and finally called up a couple turkeys. Now wild turkeys are the most challenging to hunt and I always wanted to kill one with my bow and arrow. Well I finally had my chance. I called up two turkeys and when I thought they were close enough, I pull up my compound bow and I couldn’t pull it back. I did not realize until that moment that my shoulder muscles that are required to pull back the bowstring were now gone. That ended my archery career.

     The same thing happened when I joined a work softball team in my mid-twenties. I loved to play softball and was pretty good at it when I was younger. Well, I go to our first practice, get up to bat and hit the ball to right field. I was excited because I wanted to do well, but when I take off to first I realize that something is wrong. I am really having a hard time running. Well, long story short, I got thrown out at first base by the right fielder. Now guys on a softball team can be brutal and I found that out immediately. I pretended to have hurt myself because at that point in my life, I was embarrassed and had no clue what was going on with my leg muscles. That ended my softball career.

     So with two things I loved to do out of the picture, I decided it was time to see a Doctor. I started with my family doctor. He referred me to an orthopedic specialist who referred me to a Neuromuscular Clinic. I finally get an appointment only to be poked, prodded, stabbed, twisted and turned inside out without a diagnosis. They needed to run more tests, but they thought I had some form of muscular dystrophy that they had not seen before. I was not in the mood for more tests!

     I’ll back up a bit and give you some family history. My Grandpa on my Mother’s side had similar issues, but never went to the doctor. My Uncle on my Mother’s side has similar muscle weakness as well. “You must have what Grandpa had.” is all I ever heard from Family when I started having problems. Well I did not accept that as a diagnosis and was bound and determined to find out what was wrong and hopefully get it fixed.

     It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I finally found a doctor in St. Louis that told me what I had. He said most likely I had Fascioscapulohumeral Dystrophy…FSHD for short. That’s when I learned that they did not know what caused it and there was no treatment at all. So I just learned to live with it like Grandpa did and my Uncle Richard does. I was fine! Who needs to run anyway? Who needs to shoot a bow and arrow anyway? At least I was healthy and could still play golf…right? At least I can still play guitar and play the drums…right?

     In my thirties I started noticing weakness in my abdomen, forearms, legs and feet. I could not raise my arms over my head anymore. Climbing stairs became harder and harder. I started tripping and falling a lot. The problem was, once I tripped and fell down, I could not get up off the floor without the help of a chair or solid surface. Also the muscles in my abdomen weakened to the point where it looked like I was pregnant. Meanwhile I stayed positive and hoped that someday researchers could find out what the hell caused this disease and give me some sort of hope for a treatment.

     In my 40‘s, I noticed the progression slowed considerable. Even though I can barely climb stairs, cannot play my beloved game of golf, run or play ball, I am very blessed. I still play guitar even though muscles in my hands and forearms cause problems. I pretty much gave up playing the drums mainly because it’s too hard to carry all the equipment. I am blessed!! Even though my disease has brought me to the point where I cannot continue working as a Medical Equipment Technician in a hospital environment, I never give up.

     last year, I made the difficult decision to apply for disability and was approved. Luckily my company offered short-term disability. After using up all my personal days and about to run out of company-sponsored short-term disability benefits, I get a phone call from Human Resources. They asked me if I would like to interview for a job as a Diagnostic Cardiology Technical Support Engineer. Now this is the job I had been trying to get for 3 years. Four interviews and two months later, I land the job. My start date was the exact date that my short-term disability benefits were set to run out. I work from a home office, no commute, nice raise, no tripping and falling in the halls of the hospital, no people staring at me wondering what is wrong. My dream job. I am glad I never lost hope.

     You see I have fallen down so many times in my life, but I always got back up. If you give up mentally, your body gives up as well. I will never let my muscles tell me I can’t play the guitar. That is one love I will never release. These days I find myself in awe of what can happen if you keep the faith and never lose hope.

     If you have read this far, I’m impressed. I would like to tell you about a couple great organizations. The FSH Society, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Friends of FSH Research and The Chris Carrino Foundation just to name a few that have funded research that has made great strides in the last 10 years. We now know what gene or set of genes is causing the problem. They have just recently developed a mouse model for treatment research. Things are looking good for a treatment or a cure in the next 5-10 years.

Drop me a line at if you have any questions or would like to join the fight with me.

Thank you for reading my story of hope. Like Dr. Wayne Dyer says, "Don't let your music die with you.” Never lose hope.

Phil Bennett

Sunday, March 1, 2015

There is a song you have not written yet that people need to hear.

Inspiration can come from the most random places.

About a year ago Kristi and I were shopping for a truck. We were talking with the salesman while they were processing our paperwork. When he found out I was a songwriter, he promptly wrote these words on the back of his business card and handed it to me.

"There is a song you have not written yet that people need to hear."

I look at this everyday as a reminder that there is a song in me that people need to hear. I'm not sure what prompted this man to write these words for me, but I'm glad he did.

So never forget that even though songwriting is a business, it all starts with you writing a song. Write it, sing it and play it. In that order.

Have a beautiful day,


My favorite Songwriter Joel Shewmake

Quote of the year...

“Be not the judges of men, but love your brothers and sisters, and find ways to reach out to them in common goals and aspirations. Where there is love in common, the divisions of creed will melt away and reveal the true nature of man’s eternal destiny -- one of unity in purpose, to be perfect as the Father is perfect."

Author Brilliant but Unknown

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