Barney Bentall's long career has become part of Canadian rock legend

Barney Bentall to headline Sunday night at 2015 Bella Coola Music Festival

Barney Bentall to headline Sunday night at 2015 Bella Coola Music Festival

Toronto-born and Calgary-raised Barney Bentall moved to Vancouver when he was twenty, pursuing a girl and a dream of being the next Stephen Stills.  He got the girl, and they had four children. In 1987, broke and living in his mother-in-law’s basement suite, he was poised to quit his fledgling career.

A relentless voice in his head kept whispering, “ya gotta give this one more try”. His band at the time, The Legendary Hearts, scraped together enough money to send him to Toronto “to grovel on behalf of our sorry assed souls”. He managed to get the band a record contract with Columbia/Sony Records and a management deal with good friend, Bernie Finkelstein.

Bentall writes, “The next ten years were a fun, exciting and soul-stretching ride that we all somehow managed to survive. There was never a manual written for this kind of thing.” In 2000, he decided to scale back from music and was determined to pursue the “other dream”. They had bought a ranch in the Cariboo and, inspired by a sense of adventure, decided to take a stab at running it. By 2007, it was time to jump back into the musical circus.

In the last seven years, he has released three solo records on the quintessential Canadian label founded by Bernie Finkelstein called True North Records. The Legendary Hearts still play from time to time, he has a “kick ass solo band called “The Bonapartes” and partners with Shari Ulrich and Tom Taylor as a trio.

Then there’s The Grand Cariboo Opry–his rambling, on the edge, twelve-piece Country &Western orchestra that tours in the fall to raise funds for charity. Most recently, Bentall has formed a bluegrass band under the leadership of good friend and long-time musical mate, Colin Nairne, called the High Bar Gang which just released their first CD on True North. With an undying penchant for Rock & Roll, the journey continues.

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