Welcome to “Sonic Corner,” a new Q&A music series highlighting the tunes past and present that inspire the workers’ comp community. First up is David Benedict, State Relations Executive with the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI).
Comp Blog: If you had to choose: what is your favorite album of all time?
Benedict: Harry Chapin’s Greatest Hits. “Cats in the Cradle” was my first favorite song.
Comp Blog: What genres of music do you generally gravitate toward?
Benedict: It depends on the mood, but my core is 70s soul, pop and R&B. Basically, I’m drawn to what was playing on the radio when I was a kid.
Comp Blog: Any genre/artist you simply can’t stand?
Benedict: I’ve never been a fan of most punk music or death metal.
Comp Blog: Who in your life has been the most significant influence on your music taste?
Benedict: In an indirect way it would be my dad. In college, I discovered blues and jazz. I became particularly fond of jazz organist Jimmy Smith and singer Nancy Wilson. Upon informing my father of my discovery, he went to his vinyl record collection and pulled out original pressings of those artists and more. We “discovered” this music at the exact same time in our lives.
Comp Blog: What’s the best thing you’ve listened to recently (LP, EP or single)?
Benedict: Adele’s “When We Were Young” is the song that immediately comes to mind.
Comp Blog: Music can be a staff when we need strength. Is there any song or album that is emotionally significant to you and that you revisit in hard times?
Benedict: I can’t explain why, but Marty Robbins has always been able to help me deal with physical illness. The songs “Big Iron” and “El Paso” were my go to favorites for this. Emotional support can come from Beethoven’s Für Elise or my Harry Chapin’s “Taxi” or “A Better Place to Be.”
Comp Blog: Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?
Benedict: It is not unusual for me to listen to music at my desk. That could be anything from rap to country.
Comp Blog: What is your music collection like – digital, vinyl, CDs, cassettes, 8-track, a mixture?
Benedict: My collection is digital and CDs. I suppose there may be a few cassettes in a box somewhere.
Comp Blog: Music is often involved at the most significant times in our lives for the formation of identity. How did music influence your childhood and adolescence?
Benedict: My taste in music set me apart from most of my peers. I was listening to classic rock, jazz, folk, and country when everyone else was memorizing the lyrics to the latest pop or R&B tune. It was an early indication that “group-think” wouldn’t ever be my norm. I credit my group of friends for allowing this aberration without (too much) ridicule.
Comp Blog: Do you have any favorite venues?
Benedict: If it’s small, dark and has a good bourbon selection – I’m happy.
Comp Blog: What’s the best show you’ve ever attended?
Benedict: The best live music experience I ever had was at Nick’s Saloon in West Lafayette, IN circa 1991. The harmonica maestro Sugar Blue was performing with his band. While Sugar was great, the person that left an impression that still lingers a quarter century later is the guitarist. During the warm-up when each artist would solo for a minute or two he took over. He was the last person to play, and all of the other band members had left the stage and he didn’t play for just a minute or two. Bathed in the dark colors of the red and blue stage lights he played for 15-20 minutes. To this day, it remains the most beautiful expression of music I’ve ever heard. He was dressed as if his wardrobe came from the Goodwill next door and his face evinced a hard life. But he could play that guitar and as well as anyone who ever lived and he knew it. It was the first and only time music brought me to tears.
Comp Blog: Any particular record stores that you’ve visited and loved?
Benedict: The only record store that comes to mind was JL Records in West Lafayette, IN. When I was a student at Purdue this was the store to go to. He had everything.
As a state relations executive, David Benedict is responsible for NCCI’s regulatory and legislative affairs, including rate/loss cost filings, legislative pricings, rule and form filings, appeals mechanisms, and residual market issues.
Prior to joining NCCI in 2014, Benedict was the section chief, insurance and financial compliance, for the Division of Coal Mine Workers’ Compensation Program in the US Department of Labor. He earned his BA from Purdue University in 1993 and is designated as a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and as an Associate in Underwriting (AU). Benedict is also an Accredited Insurance Examiner (AIE) and an Associate Compliance Professional (ACP).