About Bennett

Bennett Wales stands before the microphone, his trusty guitar slung over his shoulder. Those familiar with his music know the journey on which they will soon embark. The rest will soon discover that where he stands is where the timeless soul of the blues meets the edge of modern rock & roll. As far into the past as the roots of his music reach, his creative songwriting and melodic sensibilities create a fresh, original sound that commands the undivided attention of the audience. Belting out his signature, robust tenor, his exceptional vocal talent becomes instantly apparent. The depth of his lyrical prowess strikes next. From sharp-witted to introspective, the song is his canvas and his words are the brush.

Though this scene has played out scores of times since Bennett began his solo career in 2014, the result is always identical. It’s Bennett’s mission to put on a hell of a live show. He never fails to deliver.

As the contrasting influences of his style indicated, a lifetime of unlikely muses have inspired Bennett on his chosen path. His vocal talent emerged at a young age, drawing the attention of Hampton Roads classical music community. By age 9 Bennett joined the prestigious Virginia Children’s Chorus. There, he would receive classical vocal training and gained invaluable experience performing for large crowds at premier local venues like Chrysler Hall and Norfolk Scope.

In 2009 at age 13, Bennett would receive very different, but equally impactful, training as he enrolled at Fork Union Military Academy, where he would eventually earn his high school diploma. While living and studying at FUMA, free-spirited Bennett naturally gravitated to music to create his own escape from the rigid, regimented military lifestyle. In between classes and drills, you could find Bennett in the school’s planetarium crafting punk rock guitar riffs and accompanying, angst-tinged vocals that went on to be the material for his first band, Rain Over Battle. On leave weekends when he was able to return to Virginia Beach, Bennett and his bandmates would practice and/or play shows with the likes of Against Me, Gaslight Anthem and Tim Barry — each of which he lists as crucial musical influences to this day.

Sooner after acceptance into James Madison University, Bennett decided to leave raucous college life behind for the solitude and isolation of Virginia’s Eastern Shore to work as an auto mechanic. This era of his life proved pivotal to his musical development as Bennett delved into a stack of old blues records gifted to him from his grandfather to combat the bordem of the rural setting. It was here he started a new band, Safeplace, and as it was during his time at FUMA, long drives to practices and shows became the standard. Simultaneously, he fell in love with the blues and became increasingly attracted to crafting his own version of roots music influenced by the likes of Joe Cocker, Ray Charles, Patrick Sweany, Howlin’ Wolf, Leadbelly and Lionel Hampton.

Safeplace played to local acclaim around Hampton Roads and released an EP, but the band dissolved after a two-year run in 2014, which coincided with Bennett returning to Virginia Beach from the Eastern Shore. Almost immediately, Bennett joined The Wet Boys, which at the time was one of the area’s most popular live acts. His rhythm guitar riffs enhanced the band’s folk/punk anthems and helped the group record an EP, tour the East Coast and share the stage with the likes of the Reverend Horton Heat, Agent Orange, ASG, Koffin Kats and many more national acts.

During his run in The Wet Boys, Bennett also began writing and performing the material that launched his current solo career. By the time he decided to move on from The Wet Boys in 2015, Bennett had dozens of well-received solo shows under his belt, began building a loyal, passionate fan base and recorded the acclaimed “Booze Blues” EP. Ever attracted to the full sound of a complete band, Bennett assembled a full band known as Wales before moving on to his current supporting band — The Prospectors — of Mike Fischetti (bass), Max Fischetti (drums) and Aaron Kuklica (guitar).

The journey continues to wind and evolve, but along the way, Bennett has played to plenty of packed houses — including a memorable “Booze Blues” EP release show at Back Bay Brewing.

With his incessant creativity and world-class vocals at the helm, Bennett has his sights set on taking his modern brand of bluesy rock and roll to larger audiences. In the meantime, Bennett Wales and his guitar can be found before the microphone — any place where cold beer is served and live music can be heard.