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Bennie Dodd at left, chats with Greg Pace, a manager at Coup De Ville’s, a Charlottesville restaurant at which Bennie’s played for more than 20 years. continued from page 11

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News of his financial troubles spread quickly from a Facebook post. Lifelong friend (and his wife’s cousin), Lyna Watson, started contacting all of Bennie’s 1,400 Facebook friends and asking them to give a couple dollars to Bennie to help him out. “I posted a note that said if everyone donated $2 for all the love and fun Bennie has given us, we could at least save the house,” said Lyna. “And I just said, ‘OK, guys, it’s time to rally.” From just small messages like that, she found several very generous locals – mostly Nelsonians, she said – and raised about $500. That’s when she was able to get in touch with some other local musicians and started working on the Bennie Benefit or, as it’s come to be known – the Big, Big, Bennie-Fit. The Bennie-Fit, according to its website (, will feature “Friendship, Fun + Great Music: Helping our buddy Bennie to get a new start.” The Jan. 7 event will feature several local musicians plus Jimmy Fortune, who said he didn’t think twice about helping Bennie – despite living in Nashville and travel-

ing frequently these days. “The called and said they were going to do a benefit and I said, ‘Count me in!” said Jimmy. “I wanted to be with him and to try to help him out, if we can. I think friends are coming out of the woodwork; friends he didn’t even know he had. He had no idea how many people loved him – we all love him and care about him so much. I’m just thankful we’re able to do this thing for him.” Other featured musicians include Shannon Branch, Jan Smith & Jeff Vogelgesang, Jamal & Jamie, Sierra, Soul Transit Authority, Hartwell Woody, Gladstones, Duke Merrick, and Danny Beirne Trio and the music will go from 6 p.m. to past midnight and nearly 100% of the proceeds of the event will go directly to Bennie’s medical bills. Both Lyna and Jimmy mentioned the numerous benefits Bennie has done for others. “He is very generous with his time,” said Lyna. “I’ve seen him go from one gig to another and some of them he isn’t even paid for. The way I feel, he’s helped so many people, it’s time for people to come back and help him.” NCL

Nelson County Life, Issue #82  
Nelson County Life, Issue #82  

Nelson County Life, Issue #82 (January 2012)