Barney Bentall is on track to play two shows in Penticton with his band the Cariboo Express, and one of the musicians in the lineup is his son Dustin.
Despite the generational gap, Barney said they have no trouble blending their musical styles.
“He’s really helped me grow musically. Watching what Dustin and his peers do, I found that quite inspiring and it works both ways,” Barney said. “After a gig they would grab guitars and sit around in someones living room and start playing songs, and for some reason we used to be a bit snobby about that back in the day. But it’s all about writing songs, sitting around and jamming after, and that kind of opened me up to that sort of world, instead of the rock ’n’ roll world I was in.”
In exposing himself to the music of his son, Barney said Dustin most recently got him hooked on the Australian rock band Boy and Bear, who formed in 2009.
“I just loved that record of theirs, Harlequin Dreams?”
He admits that it’s difficult to remember all the details of new music now that it isn’t commonly recorded onto a physical format.
It’s not just Barney embracing the styles of his son though, there’s overlap among both of their musical interests, with Dustin now playing alongside one of his father’s early inspirations.
“I remember listening to John Prine all the time as a kid, and now Dustin performs as the opening act for John Prine shows all over North America. He’ll probably play about 10 dates with John Prine this year alone.”
Having been raised by a professional musician, Dustin, now 32, learned the ropes of going on tour well before he became his father’s bandmate.
“Growing up with me, Dustin being backstage and going on tours … the road isn’t the simplest thing. It kind of grinds a lot of people down,” Barney said. “I think to a lot of people it’s a very romantic life when you look at it from a distance, but the reality of it is there’s a lot of not-great food, a lot of time spent in buses, cars, so if you’re a good traveller – which everybody on the road with us is – it makes a big difference keeping the spirits up.”
Barney said touring alongside his son has brought about many great memories, and without him being “a clingy parent.”
“Ours wouldn’t be a relationship where you go, ‘OK son we’re going out for breakfast.’ Dustin has his own own timetable for the road, I have mine. But we usually find ourselves all sitting around over a beer having a wonderful time, great hanging on the road.”
Barney said the show will emulate an old-time variety show format, with a mix of alt-country songs old and new. Along with the rest of the Cariboo Express, the Bentalls will be performing at the Dream Café on Nov. 26 and 27.
Tickets cost $45 and can be purchased by calling 250-490-9012.
“(Dream Café owners) Pierre and Debra are just such kind and gentle souls, they’ve really made a difference to the musical culture of Penticton by bringing in lots of great acts and then treating them really well.”