Growing up with singer-songwriter Barney Bentall as a dad, Dustin Bentall would watch many shows from the wings, now he’s a staple of the West Coast roots rock scene.
“The older I get, the longer I’ve been in the music business, the more I realize what a cool, fortunate experience it was to grow up with a dad who played music for a living,” Bentall said. “At the time I didn’t know any different. Going to the Commodore (Ballroom) when I was 12 years old to watch the band sound check was just normal life.”
Growing up and learning all the different ways one can get into music, Bentall has grown an appreciation for his musically-infused youth.
“I realize how fortunate I was to be able to be surrounded by musicians and artists as I was growing up,” Bentall said.
He was never pressured to pursue music as a career, he came about it organically with a little help from his dad.
“It wasn’t like he put a guitar in my hand when I was young and said ‘you gotta carry on the family business,’” Bentall said. “He let me come into it in my own time.”
Bentall, his brother and his dad were on a sailboat to Nanaimo.
The wind was not blowing very hard and the three had some time to kill.
“We busted out the guitar and he taught me how to play Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” Bentall said.
Once he knew those three chords, he was introduced to Last Dance With Mary Jane, a Tom Petty radio hit at the time.
A few months later, Bentall was practicing in his room and his dad brought him down to his rehearsal space.
“He had set this all up ahead of time without me knowing. He got me in the studio and said ‘hey show the guys you can play that song.’ I was pretty shy,” Bentall said.
He started playing the intro, and the whole band kicked in.
“They launched in and played the whole song, which completely blew my mind. That was when the seed was firmly planted. Playing instruments and singing with a band and hearing and feeling all that sound, really loud, it was the most exciting moment in my life up until then. That was really cool, he really let me find it in my own way.”
As Bentall prepared to rehearse for a CBC recording the busy musician said he just came back from a Fort McMurray fundraiser at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium where he played with his dad as well as Blue Rodeo.
“There was about 35,000 people in the stadium, biggest crowd I’ve ever been in front of,” Bentall said.
He keeps a busy schedule, playing shows while working on his upcoming album. His first since 2013 sheepishly noting that he is “overdue.”
He’s producing a lot of the new album himself.
“Which is really nice because I have the time to do so right now. I really love all the records I’ve made so far, but I think with this record I have a new, further developed confidence in my own sound and direction,” Bentall said. “So it’s going to have a bit more of a direct sound drawn from my influences being Tom Petty and Roy Orbison, but also a bit more of a modern edge as well.”
The album will also feature songs written and produced by Bentall’s close friend and Mother Mother guitarist Ryan Guldemond.
“It’s going to be a really honest representation of myself and what I’ve sort of been through over the last few years,” Bentall said.
The album is aiming for release next spring.
Bentall comes to the Dream Café with Kendal Carson on July 15. Reserve seats online at www.dreamcafe.ca or call 250-490-9012.