Canadians first met Barney Bentall as the leader of the Legendary Hearts over 30 years ago, and now the group is reuniting for a special headliner performance at the Penticton Peach Festival.
“Barney still tours as a solo artist and with a couple other bands. However, the Legendary Hearts only get back together a couple times per year and we are thrilled to have them playing Peach Festival,” said PeachFest entertainment director Bill Kolter.
Thanks to sponsor Peters Bros. Construction, Peach Festival organizers anticipate Okanagan Lake Park will be packed on Friday, Aug. 9 at 9:30 p.m. to catch one of the most popular groups in Canada.
Their music was embraced from their first indie video of the heartland anthem, Something to Live For.
“It’s the reason I am still in music,” said Bentall. “I have a great sense of appreciation for that song.”
Next came a self-titled Epic Records album which sold over 100,000 units, and earned the group a Juno Award for Best New Group.
In 1990, Bentall, songwriting partner Gary Fraser and Colin Nairne were nominated for a Genie Award for Restless Dreamer, a song they wrote which appeared on the soundtrack to the Sandy Wilson film American Boyfriends — a follow up to My American Cousin, which was filmed in Penticton and Naramata.
As his life began moving at a dizzying speed, Bentall was swept into a circle of peers that included Blue Rodeo, K.D. Lang, The Tragically Hip, Colin James, 54-40 and The Odds.
His career education took place in parlaying strong grassroots popularity into a national following; and by playing to crowds in seedy bars to concert halls and arenas all over Canada. At its peak, the band was playing 200 dates a year, graduating from touring in a van to a motorhome to tour buses.
“I’m often struck by how resilient we were because we were a band,” said Bentall. “I don’t know if I had been a solo artist if it would have just knocked the stuffing out of me.”
Barney Bentall and the Legendary Hearts released four further studio albums: The Lonely Avenue (1991), Ain’t Life Strange (1993), Gin Palace (1995), and Till Tomorrow (1997). A Greatest Hits 1986-1996 was released in 1997.
The band recorded platinum albums and released 20 singles in Canada, however, by the mid-90s, the Legendary Hearts were struggling with the economic realities of a Canadian rock and roll band and, sadly, a deteriorating relationship with their label. Bentall grew wary of the music industry and the insistent pressure to create hits along the lines of Something to Live For, Life Could Be Worse, Do Ya, Crime Against Love, I’m Shattered, or Living in the 90s. As international success eluded him, Bentall decided to focus more on music that satisfied his own creative impulses while members of the Legendary Hearts transitioned into other careers.
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