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Gift Horse

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Album Review

Looking at the cover art — Barney Bentall, ruggedly downcast, wearing range clothes and cowboy hat with horses on the back cover — it is easy to assume that this is a country record in the manner of fellow Canadian icon Ian Tyson, featuring rugged, traditional songs of cowboys, lost love, betrayal, and vengeance. Not so — Barney Bentall's Gift Horse is reflective and pensive, a well-played and produced soft rock album influenced more by western and mountain folk traditions than overt country music influences. Bentall went into semi-retirement a few years ago, working a family ranch in a remote corner of British Columbia, and these songs are the result of his personal lifestyle change: "A man is what he thinks about all day long," he sings on "A Man Is," and on Gift Horse he shares his contemplations on life and aging, matured and sharpened from days of working cattle on the lonely plains of western Canada. There are a few anecdotal songs — "The Ballad of Old Tom Jones," for example, tells of an aging rancher nostalgic to return to his birthplace, and "Around the Bend" sadly laments another broken family. Detractors of Bentall will once again lament his unimpressive range of expression, pointing to his limited vocal delivery and musical arrangements that lack innovation and originality; still, moments of real lyrical beauty in come in his more-personal tracks — "Talk to God" and "You and I Will Meet Again" feel heartfelt and honest. "Come Away with Me" is the bonus track, a bawdy traditional singalong that lifts the mood of the record, injecting some much-needed liveliness and humor at the right time. The musical accompaniment is top-notch, and includes Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor of Blue Rodeo, veteran Vancouver studio stars Rob Becker and Pat Steward, and significant contributions from producer John Ellis. Gift Horse will not open any new doors for Barney Bentall, but for his longtime fans or those of Blue Rodeo, this is a nice, laid-back addition to your collection that will ring true and clear.


Born: 1978

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s

The rock group Barney Bentall & the Legendary Hearts was formed in Vancouver, Canada, in 1980. Members of the band, some that over time slipped out and others that slipped in, were vocalist and guitarist Barney Bentall, who also served as frontman, drummer Jack Guppy, guitarists Doug McFetridge and Colin Nairne, bassists Barry Muir and Kevin Swain, and keyboardists Will Froese and Cam Bowman. Barney Bentall also worked under the pseudonym Brandon Wolf, doing a few solo offerings for fans in 1979....
Full bio
Gift Horse, Barney Bentall
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Singer/Songwriter, Music
  • Released: 22 August 2006

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