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BARNEY BENTALL —THE DRIFTER & THE PREACHER (True North Records)

 

www.truenorthrecords.com

 

www.barneybentall.com

 

Canadian singer-songwriter, Barney Bentall after a five-year hiatus is back with a new album. It is his 10th and what an excellent, well thought out and power packed project he has come up with.

 

The Drifter & The Preacher contains an endless string of fine nuances, singing voices and playing as one note-worthy song follows another.

 

It isn’t all about title tracks songs, “The Drifter” and “The Preacher”, but you also have the album’s first single “The Miner”. An effort he co-wrote with his son Dustin (with shared vocals) it kicks off the record in good fashion. It is far better than good if I am truthful, some of you no doubt will detect hints of fellow Canadian Neil Young in the song. Which is no bad thing, not at all.    

 

Pickers (band) on the record include Geoff Hicks (drums), Rob Becker (bass), Scott Smith (electric, pedal steel guitar), Kendel Carson (fiddle), Adrian Dolan (keyboards, fiddle, mandolin, accordion), Simon Kendall (keyboards) and John Raham (percussion) plus a bunch of guests to go with Bentall’s own guitar, piano and harmonica, and yes there is also horns and harmony vocals.   

    

 “The Drifter” like a few songs on the record it contains a hefty production. For though if contains stylish piano and fiddle and a good story it could have been more intimate (making it more powerful, emotionally). “In The Morning” (co-write with Cory Tetford) it too is a huge song. With his tight band, backing it to the hilt the staggering piece comes complete with heavenly harmony vocals to match “The Preachers” as ‘song of the album’. A couple more songs like them and you would undoubtedly be talking about a five-star record. Jim Cuddy from Blue Rodeo joins Bentall (vocals) on dreamy shuffle, “Won’t Change The World”. 

 

Providing a song with drive and edge, “Don’t Wait For Me Marie” reflects on a man telling his woman not to wait for him. Buoyed by superb electric guitar, fiddle, Dobro and piano it captures the feel of the adventurer, the soldier of fortune of this world if you like. For beauty “Say Goodbye To Albert Comfort” offers more than its share, and with sobering pedal steel guitar and mournful fiddle a rich melancholy feel governs throughout. Bentall holds strong to unhurried songs rich in meaning via “The Ocean And You (A Song For John Mann)”, and then with more grace and beauty than you could dream of, mandolin, fiddle, harmonica and sweet harmony vocal warmed “On The Shores Of Grise Fjord” nips in as the album’s finale. Enough to jolt me to revalue what is the finest piece of work on the record, because I believe it just about nicks it!

 

                                                       Maurice Hope             

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September 2018

1
The Devil Makes Three
70 pts.
Chains Are Broken
New West
FC,JB,RK,TJ,LK
2
Jimmy LaFave
65 pts.
Peace Town
Music Road Records
PKO
3
Malcolm Holcombe
48 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
FB,JBO
4
Cody Canada & the Departed
47 pts.
3
Blue Rose Records
CVL,DHO
5
Jeffrey Foucault
43 pts.
Blood Brothers
Blueblade Records
MB,SZ
6
The War And Treaty
42 pts.
Healing Tide
Thirty Tigers
FCE,AL,MG
7
Martha Fields
40 pts.
Dancing Shadows
Independent
SP,DH,RST,RW
8
The Weight Band
35 pts.
World Gone Mad
Must Have Music
DD,CRS,BM
9
David Olney
32 pts.
This Side Or The Other
Black Hen Music
LM
 
The Black Sorrows
32 pts.
Citizen John
Blue Rose Records
 
11
Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis
31 pts.
Wild Wild Wild
Bloodshot Records
GS
12
Hadley McCall Thackston
28 pts.
Hadley McCall Thackston
Wolfe Island Records
 
 
Nathan Bell
28 pts.
Er Gwaetha Pawb a Phopeth
Angry Stick
PK
14
Curse Of Lono
26 pts.
As I Fell
Submarine Cat Records
MM,JF
15
Ryan Martin
25 pts.
Gimme Some Light
High Moon
 
 
Stephen Simmons
25 pts.
Gall
Locke Creek Records
TK,HDB
17
Jason McNiff
23 pts.
Joy And Independence
At The Helm Records
 
 
Jim Lauderdale
23 pts.
Time Flies
Yep Roc
 
 
Kevin Gordon
23 pts.
Tilt and Shine
Crowville Media
MP
20
Eliza Gilkyson
21 pts.
Secularia
Red House Records
KG,JJC
21
Boz Scaggs
20 pts.
Out Of the Blues
Concord Records
BH,JSM
 
Lucero
20 pts.
Among The Ghosts
Thirty Tigers
JJ
 
Melissa Carper & Rebecca Patek
20 pts.
Brand New Old-Time Songs
Independent
MW
24
The Jayhawks
17 pts.
Back Roads and Abandoned Motels
Legacy
 
25
Lori McKenna
16 pts.
Tree
Cn Records

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