May 24, 2012
By Diane Hageman
The buzz was big. National recording artist Mat Kearney was going to be playing for the '12 Pines spring concert at SJU, an event coordinated by the CSB and SJU Joint Events Council.
The buzz got even bigger when Kearney decided to write a song as a thank you after playing at what he called "the most energetic acoustic show I've ever played."
The result was "Bennie and Johnnie" which was initially released and uploaded May 10 by Kearney on SoundCloud. By mid-afternoon May 11, it had been played 10,000 times. That number has risen to more than 21,500 — and climbing. Dozens of people commented on the song including Lois Liner: "Beautiful song appreciated by two people who will soon celebrate 65 WONDERFUL years of a Johnnie-Bennie marriage."
CSB and SJU students and alums have been all a-twitter, sharing their love for the song via social media. Facebook posts total at least 600, it's been tweeted 374 times with numerous retweets and views on YouTube are pushing 3,000.
The viral reaction even impressed Minneapolis' KARE 11 reporter Boua Xiong, a Mat Kearney fan herself, to do a segment on the song which aired May 21. That story sent fans into action again with dozens of "likes" and numerous Facebook posts and Twitter was fluttering with the Bennie-Johnnie buzz.
"This college, they captured my heart," Kearney emphasized. And he's got a song that's well on its way to capturing the experience of CSB and SJU in the hearts of many fans.