Faces in the Crowd – Walk The Line

Posted on May 19, 2016 under Faces in the Crowd with no comments yet

Jamie Benoit (2)

“I left Toronto in 1967 and the Leafs haven’t won the cup since then.”

Meet Jamie Benoit.

Though he was born in Ontario, he is a local boy, through and through. His great, great grandfather was William Davis, the miner infamously killed during a strike in New Waterford in 1925.

He grew up in Merland in a house filled with music. His father’s people were well known fiddle players and it was not uncommon for a “session” consisting of Benoits, Wallaces and Teasdales to break out on a Friday, often lasting most of the weekend! He learned to play guitar, studying a book of lyrics and chords to learn the music of Johnny Cash.

Following his father’s footsteps, he decided to become a carpenter and attended the Adult Vocational Training Centre (presently the Marconi campus) in Sydney. One night he wandered into a bar. It was easy to tell that he wasn’t a “local” by the stares that he attracted. Someone wandered over to his table, and once the bar patrons realized his Cape Breton lineage he was immediately accepted as one of their own.

Jamie laughs easily. He is well known for his ability to tell stories and he is not embarrassed when he is the center of misfortune.

At the age of 17, he and his best friend decided to go “state side’ and visit relatives outside of Boston. He meticulously cleaned the car before the trip. Two teenage boys travelling to the U.S. were bound to attract some attention, and sure enough, they were pulled over at the border, luckily without incident. On the return trip, they encountered a myriad of car problems. When they got to Calais, they were once again detained by border officials.

“Shut ‘er off. You’re going to be here for a while.” The boys were puzzled and dismayed. “Where’s the dope?” queried the Customs officer. While in Boston, a relative of Jamie’s had borrowed his car and left a small trail of marijuana seeds on the floor of the back seat. After a thorough dismantling of the car, they came up clean and continued on their way.

The car finally gave up the ghost in Moncton and they hitchhiked home. At four in the morning, just outside of Westville, they were offered a jail cell and a free breakfast by a member of the local constabulary. They respectfully declined.

Jamie is an avid outdoorsman who loves spending time with his sons; skidoo-ing, 4 wheeling, fishing and boating. Well maybe not so much boating. A few years back he bought a used speed boat. On the vessel’s maiden voyage, he inadvertently put straight gas into the tank, rather than the normal mix, and fried the engine. Much to the chagrin and embarrassment of his boys, the boat had to be towed to the wharf… its first and only trip under Jamie’s captaincy! The boat didn’t even survive long enough to earn a name.

Jamie plays music whenever the opportunity presents itself. “Music is a way for me to relax and unwind. I like performing with different musicians and playing different styles of music.”

His peers speak glowingly about him. “He plays with a natural feel and is full of jokes and witty comments between tunes … fun is always guaranteed when sharing the stage with this guy.”

With the recent success of the Blue Jays and the Raptors, Leaf’s management may want to cajole Jamie into moving back to Toronto to sing the anthem. Just as long as he doesn’t drive through the States to get there!



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