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Jams & Joints #13: A Family Affair

On the occasion of Father's Day 2021 (one of the holiest days of our year), we have the honor to present to you a very special edition of Jams & Joints, featuring a selection by Bill Bennett. 

Bill is a dear friend, a mentor and a Father figure to us here at Dad Grass HQ.  He's also a legend in the music industry. Next time you see him, ask him about your favorite artist. We bet he's got a killer story about 'em. His Father’s Day playlist below has certainly put on a smile on our faces and we hope it will for you too! 

But first, some personal notes from Bill...  

“Growing up without a father made Father’s day a bit awkward in our house. My siblings and I just pretended it didn’t exist. I understood fairly early in life that I was on my own and escape was the only option. Luckily music and my relationship with it provided me a time, place and means to educate myself and travel. Timing and lighting have always been good to me and with some luck and  good music I was able to make my way in the record business. So my take on fatherhood is all about my daughters. They taught me to be a father. All four of them continue to school me daily on how to see the world and hear the messages they are being sent culturally, politically and personally. It is the greatest gift I can imagine and priceless in it’s enrichments. 

Luke and I are very open and honest with our kids. There is a bit of swearing and a touch of mutiny in our house mixed with tons of trust and love. The girls know music and are very aware of what it means to our extended families of songwriters, musicians and creators. They love as much as their parents to discover new songs and new artists to play for us.

Therefore I am going to share some of the songs our family has woven into our fabric. Whenever a phone or laptop pairs with any of the various sound systems around the house the following songs will inevitably surface and bring smiles of comfort. 

(We've listed the tracks and Bill’s notes below in case you don't use Spotify. This time, we’ve also included the writers because, according to Bill, “Without them there would be no music.”

Go Rest High On That Mountain Vince Gill (Vince Gill) | Let us not forget that people lost their fathers during the pandemic and now see this Sunday in June with sadness and introspection. This song and Vince’s voice capture the high lonesome that accompanies and comforts loss.

A Change Is Gonna Come Same Cooke (Sam Cooke) | Being a lifelong fan of Sam Cooke, this song was always a favorite of my oldest daughter Scout. Scout and I danced to this song at her wedding to Jenna while Charlottesville was happening just south of her wedding in Buck’s County. The song unfortunately remains wishful.

Beautiful Boy | John Lennon  (John Lennon) | Simply captures why watching your child sleep evokes hope and dreams

Daddy Lessons | Beyonce featuring The Chicks (Delicata/Gordon/Cossum/Knowles) | Don’t take the lyrics literally, but to be sure, when you have daughters you always worry about men

When You Are My Age | Lori McKenna (Lori McKenna) | First of all Lori is first ballot Hall of Fame in our home. She is a family friend and one of America’s great gifts. Her lyrics are sublime and her stories timeless. 

Into My Arms | Nick Cave (Nick Cave) | One of my favorite artists and a song from the best dad movie of all time, Richard Curtis’s ‘About Time’. Bill Nighy is the dad I wish I had.

Kyoto | Phoebe Bridgers (Phoebe Bridgers) | Phoebe is a true artist with an authentic voice and POV. A brilliant songwriter and cultural observer, she captures the lament of disappointment every family knows. I grew up with this feeling.

Tiny Dancer | Elton John (Bernie Taupin/Elton John) | All of our daughters are really good writers and love to draw, paint and doodle for fun. Willa, besides being a gifted writer will always be ‘Willaballerina’ to us. Her love of dance is so much of who she and this song 

Wait A Minute | Willow Smith (Willow/Rim) | My youngest daughter Finley has great taste and  bangs this one for me all the time. We both think this is the shit and should have been a bigger hit. If music is playing in our house this will be in rotation.

In Spite of Ourselves | John Prine and Iris Dement (John Prine) | Two of my all-time favorite songwriters and singers capture the spirit of our family life. I am so lucky to have Luke as my wife and partner. She is dinner and a show, never without opinions and the most loyal friend you can have. I could not think of a better role model for our girls.


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