Another hall of famer

Published 3:36 pm Friday, October 3, 2008

A life devoted to music has lead one Picayune native to be inducted into the Westbank Hall of Fame.

For more than 45 years, Joseph “Candy” Wayne Bennett has been playing music professionally. He found his love of music at about the age of five or six when his older brother, Walter Clifton Bennett, and a family friend, Toxie Baughman, caught him playing air guitar with a broom.

Bennett said he made that mock guitar out of his mother’s broom and a broken guitar string. Baughman said he and Walter Bennett then bought Joseph Bennett his first guitar, a Fender. Baughman said he and Walter Bennett taught Joseph Bennett all they could on that Fender until Joseph, a quick learner, took it from there.

Joseph Bennett’s brother and Baughman were inducted into the same hall of fame last year. Bennett accepted his brother’s honor in his stead due to his brother’s illness at the time.

Joseph Bennett said his professional career in music began at the age of 14 when he began playing guitar for B.J. Johnson at WRJW in Picayune. At the age of 29 Bennett decided to build his own steel guitar.

Born in Picayune in August of 1947, Joseph Bennett attended school in Picayune, and once his music career took off, he played numerous shows in Picayune and the surrounding area. Bennett estimates he has been in more than 100 bands during his lifetime, playing at venues from Picayune to New Orleans and now in Texas where me moved to in 1985. Now 61, and living in Fort Worth, he plays on the weekends and builds steel guitars for a Texas business man part time. When he first moved to Texas, Bennett said he played seven nights a week for seven years.

“I can’t do no more of the seven nights a week stuff, I’m just too old,” Bennett said.

During his career he said he has played with the likes of Hank Thompson, Jerry P. Dunn, Hank Williams Jr. and Bill Mack. Bennett said he has also been named song writer of the year two years in a row in 1989 and 1990. In 1989 he received that honor for his song entitled “Break it Easy” and in 1990 it was for his song “Guitar Strings and Wedding Rings.”

Bennett recently released a new album that gets regular airtime on a Texas radio station, 92.1. He currently plays in the band Open Range. Their myspace page can be found at http://www.myspace.com/openrangeproductions.

Last year Bennett found out he will be inducted into the Westbank Hall of Fame.

“Oh man, it makes me feel good that all those years I accomplished something,” Bennett said.

Induction into the Westbank Hall of Fame really means a lot to Bennett.

“I never thought something like that would happen, but it certainly feels good to know it did,” Bennett said.

The Induction ceremony will take place Oct. 30, at the Four Columns in Harvey, La., according to http://westbankmusicianshalloffame.150m.com/Events.html.