James Bennett offers up a buoyant but heartfelt tribute to country-folk

Beg Lie Steal Borrow is the first slice of James Bennett’s upcoming album, and it calls for celebration and gratitude, in the darkest hours.

These days a lot of modern music calls for hands to raised and ceilings to lifted. Yet tunes of the country-folk persuasion are unassumingly written to be played to roofless gatherings. It’s these kind of infectious musical moments that ask for nothing. They will you into their presence and inspire, often involuntarily, carpe diem dancing.

Port Macquarie-born, Newcastle-based James Bennett is a performer and artist by nature. At thirty, he’s already about to release his fourth studio album Life and Life Only. So when the struggles of 2020 set in, Bennett was unable to do the one thing he’s been practicing and preaching for years. Without the ability to perform live, he crafted some of his most spirited tracks to date. This first taste, Beg Lie Steal Borrow imagines the worst but calls to wind for graciousness – something we’ve all been privy to of late.

Photo: Hazy Cosmic Jive Studio

Strung together with all the classic elements of campfire ritual, Beg Lie Steal Borrow rejoices in bouncy guitar riffs. Banjos and organ join the melting pot, complete with echoey, comforting vocals. Swinging in with happy harmonica and toe-tap worthy choruses, there’s enough tongue-in-cheek to appease every listener. And if you are genuinely that spritely, then you’ll have Beg Lie Steal Borrow rent free in your rafters for many days following.

A healthy fusion of folk and country greet the contrary themes of potential lost love. Like typical cowboy swagger, the uplifting vibe carries the darker underbelly with the prelude, “Well if I lost it all tomorrow…” Bennett recounts the songwriting:

“I’d written that (line) probably a year earlier but didn’t know it’d be so relevant later on.”

“The song was in my head for a few years, I would hum this melody while driving up & down the highway playing gigs across the country like i’ve always done.”


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Recorded at the Hazy Cosmic Jive Studio down the road from Bennett’s place in Newcastle in four days, you can sense that the natural instincts took over. The Lumineers are to Americana what James Bennett is to Australiana: honest, talented and rich with storytelling.  The professionalism is palpable in his craft and we can’t wait to indulge in the whole record.

Until then, enjoy the first taste on iTunes here.

James Bennett’s full catalogue is also on Spotify.