Flesh & Bone Reviews
"A collection of fully formed songs that are very nearly perfect in every way."
"...oozes quality from every groove"
"Bentall's narratives are every inch as good as any of the more feted stars in Nashville, Chicago or NY have produced in recent years."
"Flesh & Bone must surely be his most personal and probably greatest work to date. If it's not, I'm going to have to spend a lot of money catching up on his back catalogue."
~ Alan Harrison, No Depression
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"Only Barney Bentall could make the city of Buffalo seem beautiful. The former leader of The Legendary Hearts does just that on the opening track of his new solo CD, Flesh And Bone on Burlington’s True North Records."
~ Graham Rockingham, Hamilton Spectator
"Ever wonder what happened to former Legendary Heart leader and Something To Live For guy Barney Bentall? Well, he's now a cattle rancher in British Columbia and in true Canuck, Ian Tyson-style, Bentall is still recording while workin' the land. Seven albums in and this nouveau elder statesman still mines the kind of musical terrain that rests somewhere between the likable roots rock of his former combo and a kind of earthy, back-to-the-land style of folk pop. Bentall is a charmer. His songs are personal, yet spread their warmth to the listener with a grace and connection reserved for a truly gifted writer of songs. The carefree joy of One Fine Day blends perfectly with the earnestly lovely Her Beautiful Mind and the Springsteen-like St. Valentines Day. His strength comes from his low-key attack combined with the ability of his band to add heft to the sometimes-light framework of the tunes. He's still got the chops to keep his career afl
oat and you'd be hard-pressed to find another album in this genre that works so well front to back."
~ Jeff Monk, Winnipeg Free Press
"Dang, if he didn’t go and find his legendary heart in the muck and the mire of a ranch in the Cariboo. Dang, if he didn’t forget the clang and clamour, swirl and mayhem of the city in the pastoral quiet. Dang, if it didn’t inform the songs he wrote and dang, if this ain’t the best thing he’s done because of all that.
It’s a rootsy, folksy, blues-rock, pop, and Celtic tinged paean to rediscovery, rejuvenation and the effect of the land on a consciousness. There are smatterings of Mellencamp and Springsteen in songs like One Fine Day and St. Valentine’s Day and if there’s some John Prine and Bob Dylan lurking in the corners so much the better.
Dang, if it ain’t low key and plays like he’s havin’ one hell of a good time. Dang, if joyous, thoughtful and engaging songs backed by fiddles, accordion and Celtic flute sound like a Canada you recognize immediately. Sublime, well-crafted and earnest."
~Richard Wagamese, o.canada.com
"Flesh & Bone is a joyous, thoughtful, engaging miniature masterpiece festooned with colourful characters, panoramic songs and topped with shimmering ensemble and solo performances."
~ David Farrell, CanadianMusicFest.com
Though hardly a household name this side of the pond, BARNEY BENTALL nonetheless drags a substantial body of work in his wake. He's a Calgary native now based in Vancouver, while his CV includes his legend-building years with well-respected Canadian troupers Legendary Hearts.
And, while my radar had failed to detect his solo career until now, it turns out that 'The Inside Passage' is not only his seventh studio outing, but it's yet another reason to marvel at the seemingly endless supply of great Roots-Rock oozing outta British Columbia.
However, while 'The Inside Passage' is a recognisably Roots-related record, it's often served sunny side up with a generous quart of Rock/ Pop to help wash it down. Opening track 'Hold My Heart' is breezy, no-nonsense and direct with an anthemic chorus and plenty of punch in reserve, even if it does make space for a Byron Berline-style fiddle solo from one Daniel Lapp. 'On This Beautiful Night”s tale of a stranger in a strange land (“dagger totin' desperadoes taking in the sights/ Evening gowns and black Tuxedos bathed in blue Italian light”) has a powerful Jayhawks-y groove and is punched up by a horn section, while 'Catch A Train”s melody sounds vaguely reminiscent of Rod Stewart's 'Maggie May'. That's not a problem, mind, and its' control-your-own-destiny message (“no, I won't go quietly into the night...and it's far too late to become what my father hoped”) is all too easy to relate to if you've been round the block a few times yourself.
However, 'The Inside Passage' is about much more than simply getting your rocks off. It's a consummate singer/ songwriter record featuring a wealth of moods and styles. There are Roots-ier dalliances along the way – not least the full-throttle, fiddle-fuelled hoedown 'Papa Henry's Boy' and the lovely, tears-in-beers melancholy of 'I Never Meant To Make You Cry' – but there's also room for breathy, romantic balladry ('Face to Face') and straight-down-the-line autobiography on 'Sending Out A Message' where Bentall admits “I've always been a troubadour, doing what I do.”
Then there's the hard to pigeon-hole stuff and it's probably the best of all. To this end, try 'She Ran Away ' on for size. It's an atmospheric manoeuvre doused in heartache and just a hint of Daniel Lanois. Then there's the title track. It starts out as a heartfelt tribute to the inherent beauty of Bentall's adopted British Columbia homeland, but when the band step out of the shadows, they transform it into a sonic workout of epic proportions. Neither are necessarily what you'd expect from a broadly Roots-related album, but they're both good examples of both the ambition and realisation going down here.
Barney Bentall, then, is well worth checking out. He writes resonant songs of hope, love and loss which connect thousands of miles away from the wide open spaces of his enigmatic Canadian homeland. 'The Inside Passage' charts some quite beautiful waters you ought to traverse at your earliest convenience.
Jan 12, 2010
Legendary Canadian singer songwriter Barney Bentall doesn't seem to be making any plans to retire these days. His passion and unmatched talent really shine on his latest release "The Inside Passage".
We get started with a catchy upbeat tune called "Hold my Heat" that does a perfect job pulling you in and building you up for the irresistible chorus. The song instantly grabs your attention and puts you in the driver’s seat for this amazing album. "Sending out a Message" rounds out and softens the overall sound of the album with a beautifully written mid tempo song that contends for best track. There is a great range of instrumentation used on this album with horns, pedal steel, piano, fiddle, glockenspiel, mandolin even whistling. Bentall’s musical seasoning and life experience really shine with "I never Meant To Make You Cry", this beautifully timeless ballad is a great addition this impressive set of songs. One track in particular that really stands out is Papa Henry's Boy, it's got an old time country feel to it and would get any crowd to their feet in a hurry, it's a hootin, hollerin good time. If you're a fan of artists like Bruce Springsteen's, Fred Eaglesmith, Bruce Cockburn and Steve Dawson this is a must have in your collection.
- Andre Skinner
Barney Bentall has reinvented himself in the last decade. He delivers what is his artistic apex to date in the brand new The Inside Passage........
The lyrical acumen may be most obviously the work of a man who insightfully peers into specific vignettes he has created - not just the work of a man who can examine his own life journey - on the album's penultimate track. She Ran Away is an incredibly dense story within a simple narrative - the like of which would recall the sort of genius we associate with Fred Eaglesmith. The song fully engages the listener at every turn, culminating in his recognizing, "I was serving the fifth day of my sentence" as his private fate as the song ends.