Rigsby, Leadbetter and Bennett

Rigsby, Leadbetter and BennettJust recently we told you about a short upcoming concert/workshop tour that Richard Bennett and Phil Leadbetter are doing together. Now Phil has contacted us with some exciting news about that pairing, and where it’s leading. As we noted in that post, Richard and Phil have played together previously in J.D. Crowe’s band, The New South. Another alumnus of that band has now joined forces with Leadbetter and Bennett, to put together a new band. Mandolinist and vocalist Don Rigsby has answered the call and the new band is to be known as: Rigsby, Leadbetter and Bennett.

These three are all great musicians, but three a band does not make. Phil’s son Matt Leadbetter will be rounding out the ensemble as a bass player and parts singer, while keeping his commitments with Brand New Strings as his regular gig.

According to papa Leadbetter…

“Matt is one killer dobro player. If I could have played bass, I would have him playing dobro. Matt is a great player. He has been a full-time Dad the last few years, and he enjoyes that.  He expressed interest in wanting to play bass for us. Matt is a great parts singer, and has turned into a really good bass player. Don Rigsby has been very complimentary of his playing and singing. Matt’s main thing though is the dobro, and I hope someday he can get back with a National act playing it.”

In the meantime though, Phil seems like a proud daddy to have his son playing music with him.

Matt is a current member of Brand New Strings, and  will only be playing with Rigsby, Leadbetter and Bennett on the side. In fact, this is a part time effort even for the primary players.

“Don will continue to have his own band Midnight Call as well. This will be a side project for us both . . . I’m hoping to do this for a short term, and then start my own band in 2011. I’m hoping that some promoters may find some interest in our new venture, as well as my own band when that happens. Look for a new CD in the next few months.”

The band is currently accepting bookings for both 2010 and 2011, with no plans beyond that at this time. Many musicians hold down jobs in multiple bands simultaneously, so this is not unusual. Of course, there is always the possibility that fans and promoters will enjoy the band enough to demand something closer to a full-time commitment, but that is for the future to decide.

Anyone who’s keeping track at this point may have notice the lack of mention of a banjo.

“I think our sound will be very unique. We agreed to go without a banjo for right now. Kinda wanting to play in the vein of some of the “Manzanita-era” stuff, but our own music and sound. The 3 of us just really loved the feel of that album. Heavy focus on singing and dynamics. Totally different for us.

Me, Richard and Don worked together as J.D Crowe’s New South when J.D came back out of retirement in the mid-90s , and were also part of the Grammy Nominated recording Flashback.  I am really looking forward to playing with Richard and Don again.  This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Richard and I talked about this several years back. Even before Wildfire. I remember the good times and the music back when we played with J.D. I thought there was a lot of magic in the singing and playing. Two of my very best friends in the world, and it’s so awesome to get to play in a band with these wonderful musicians and singers. I can’t say what a pleasure it is to play in a band with my son Matt as well.”

Phil says he’s still got lots of musical ideas he wants to express in the coming years and doesn’t know in exactly what context that will happen. For now though, he’s committed to Rigsby, Leadbetter and Bennett for the next couple of seasons, with a wait and see attitude for anything beyond that.

He tells us that right now, the new band is feeling really good, and we’re sure they’re sounding good and looking forward to hearing what they’ve got to say musically.

To keep up with the new band, join their Facebook page as a fan.