Vancouver seems an unlikely place to nurture such a rustic troubadour as Dustin Bentall, but Canada seemed like an unlikely country to be the birthplace of artists like Rick Danko, Robbie Robertson, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel or Neil Young. If you look you’ll find as deep a frontier spirit and hard luck charm as any nation.
You’ll find a reverence for the tales of everyday life and loss, and you’ll find a lot of people who have time to learn their craft. Spinning songs by Neil Young, The Band, Bob Dylan, John Prine, Tom T. Hall, The Beatles, Wilco and Steve Earle, Bentall has found the heart of that music and placed it under his own landscapes.
Bentall is appearing in Grand Forks at the Starlight Saloon at Spencer Hill Orchard and Gallery in August along with fiddler Kendel Carson, backed up by the dancing talents of Les Folles Jambettes and their madame and cowgirl poet Gypsy Jill.
The narcotic cowboy thing you hear in Bentall’s music comes from his love for Gram Parsons, The Flying Burrito Brothers and the Byrds with their so-called ‘Cosmic American Music.’ That is, not to mention the time he has spent in the saddle ropin’ and branding steers on the ranch. But his true talent may come from his DNA.
Bentall’s father, Barney, is approaching legendary status in Canadian rock circles and has let the boy grow up to build his own strengths. He just dropped hints but didn’t crack any whips.
“There’s no question I’ve learned more from him than anyone else in the business. He never pushed the guitar on me but was always there to answer any questions I had, and left the actual learning up to me,” explained Dustin. “I spent a few years wishing he had cracked the whip a little more but I have come to realize that the style I have developed has been a product of my own chosen influences. The old man proved over and over that he can rock with the best of them. I’ve always been really proud of that and hoped that it’s written in my DNA.”
Then there’s the learned part. He sounds older than his years because his songs speak with wisdom about his youthful experiments with immortality in a car crash with a friend. They both recovered and Bentall went on to record his debut record “Streets With No Lights” in 2005.
Bentall has recently opened shows for Kathleen Edwards on the west coast, and concert goers can see him up on stage for a Blue Rodeo encore or opening for Corb Lund. Bentall has done a lot of writing with Canadian Country Music up and comer Ridley Bent. One song in particular “Nine Inch Nails” holds the honors of 2008’s Country Song of the Year with the Independent Music Awards of North America.
Trucks? Fiddles? If that sounds familiar, you may remember Carson from her single, “I Like Trucks,” which came out in 2007 (on Rearview Mirror Tears) and garnered the singer a huge audience on both sides of the Atlantic. The song, a playful slice of country/roots music, served as a nice introduction to the singer.
But to really get to know Carson, listen to Dynamite. It suggests a singer who’s both confident and coy, and a musician who’s technically gifted but spontaneous at heart. It also ties together everything that make her one of today’s most important new performers – her mentorship with Chip Taylor, a childhood spent in the prairies of Alberta and, later, the burgeoning roots music scene of Victoria, and her lifelong passion for music and the fiddle.
Although classically trained (and eventually a performer in the National Youth Orchestra and a featured soloist with the Victoria Symphony), Carson’s musical passion lies in the folk, country and rock scenes. She is touring as a duo with Bentall this summer.
Les Folles Jambettes will be keeping the energy of the show kicking with their cancan stage show complete with their Madame Gypsy Jill who performs her original cowgirl poetry.
Bentall and Carson will be playing at the Starlight Saloon Aug. 13 and 14 at Spencer Hill Orchard and Gallery, shows start at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are available at: Thistle Pot Gifts in Grand Forks and Huckleberry Market in Christina Lake, $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Cash bar - no minors please.
Kendel Carson http://www.myspace.com/kendelcarson#ixzz0uGufIMWE
Dustin Bentall http://www.dustinbentall.com/
Les Folles Jambettes http://lesfollesjambettes.webs.com/