Tom Bennett has been a good friend of mine for over 20 years. It wasn't until about a year or so ago that I learned his name was actually Tom. He has always gone by the name of "Bat", which is his initials in reverse order. I met Bat when he was playing in a band with one of my former students, but he claims to have been musically influenced by me before we ever met. But that's not important...this post is about Bat, not me.
As far as I know, Bat has never worked a real job...he's been able to support himself, his wife, and their two kids by playing music. He's played in bar bands, toured the world playing USO gigs for US troops, and for the past couple of years, toured the country with his wife Brenda playing as a solo act, just him and an acoustic 12-string guitar. His "shtick" is that he does not use a set list. Every gig is free-form, playing songs by request only. If you name a song, he either knows it or knows something else by that artist. It's like playing "Stump the Band" every night. When he started the solo act thing, he primarily worked in the Southwest US, playing mostly VFW and American Legion halls. But as time has gone on, his range has expanded and he's literally playing coast to coast now, mostly in coffee shops and pubs these days. He and Brenda visited their house in Albuquerque for something like 8 or 9 days last year. They travel a lot. And they are both two of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.
About a year ago, Bat recorded his first album, Waiting for Zavala. Although it was done on a shoestring with recording and production help from friends, the album has actually done pretty well on iTunes and Amazon. In their spare time, Bat and Brenda have been filming video footage to put together music videos for some of the songs on the album. the video below, Turtle Island, is the first one they've finished.
In the description below, which Bat posted on Facebook, he mentions Eddie "Two Moons" Chavez. Eddie is another good friend of mine, and also a class act in his own right. For the record, Eddie is a Native American (Apache) and Bat is as "white man" as I am. Whe you hear the song you'll understand why I mentioned this. I just wanted to share this because I think both guys deserve all the recognition they can get. Here's Bat's description of the video, and the video itself. I hope you enjoy it...
Well everybody. . . here you go. This is the video for Turtle Island. I hope you enjoy it- we had a lot of fun shooting it.
Some things you should know:
Turtle Island in many Native American cultures' lore is what Planet Earth is described as being- that is to say, suspended in space on the back of a gigantic turtle. In many Native cultures, it is more specifically North America that is referred to as "Turtle Island".
When you hear the chorus saying "Two Moons over the water. . .," etc, that (and the rest of the song too!) is referring to my very Dear Friend Eddie "Two Moons" Chavez- or "Sir Edward" as I call him. Eddie is the President of the Chiricahua Apache nation, and this song is roughly based on him, and at times myself too. (He is also one of the best Bass-players you'll ever get to hear.) Basically it's about trying to find your harmony with this life, in this time. Hopefully you can reach a place in your life where you can combine the wisdom and teachings of the ones who went before you with the things you have learned for yourself, and leave this world a better place than it was before you came to it. I love you E2M!
This is the biggest song from the CD "Waiting For Zavala" in terms of international audience. This tune has been downloaded more times than any of the others, and generates the most feedback. It's about a journey for me, and about a great friendship. Yes, that is Eddie speaking the Apache Prayer in the middle of it, as well as doing the drumming and singing at the fade out. My lifelong friend Ron Crowder aided in the production of it, and the sound recording was produced by Rick Del Castillo.
Feel free to share it with whomever you wish- everything is copyrighted appropriately.
I wish you peace and love.