Aug. 15, 2012 - Issue #878: Snap Turns 30
Fri, Aug 17 and Sat, Aug 18
Part of the 2012 Rock Music Festival
Hawrelak Park Amphitheatre
Schedule at edrocks.ca
While the band doesn't endure the hectic touring schedule it once did, Barney Bentall & the Legendary Hearts are keeping the music alive with select shows each year, and one happens to include a stop in Edmonton to perform alongside the likes of Blue Oyster Cult, April Wine and Trooper.
Barney Bentall & the Legendary Hearts garnered a great deal of success at home in Canada with a self-titled debut in 1988, including three hit singles and Juno Award for Most Promising Group of the Year. Success continued for the group until the members set off on individual musical endeavours in 2008. However, the quintet still comes together for about 10 shows each year and revisits its hits.
"With thousands of shows under our belt, it's just a lot of fun. We enjoy each other's company and have so many great memories playing together," Bentall says. "Everybody's out doing lots of music, so everybody's chops are still there."
The Legendary Hearts may not be his primary focus anymore, but Bentall has gone on to carve out a solo career, and has a new album titled Flesh and Bone due out in October. He also founded the Grand Cariboo Opry with a variety of fellow musicians as a way to raise funds for needy residents of Vancouver's downtown east side.
Flesh and Bone follows a thematic scope that takes listeners through the past and present, from homesteading a ranch after the Second World War to a love story evolving on the rough streets of Vancouver's east side.
"I was looking to make it much like when you read a novel that would start in the present and then all of a sudden trace these people back to their more historical roots," Bentall explains of Flesh and Bone.
Another source of inspiration that creeps into Bentall's solo songwriting comes from his ranch, which he began in the interior of British Columbia in 2000. He admits he may have been a touch crazy to choose ranching as a secondary career, but has enjoyed the learning curve that's come with it. Bentall remains involved in the ranch, but has handed the reins over to his daughter and her husband, who manage the brunt of the work raising horses, sheep and a few cattle, which has allowed Bentall to continue his solo career as a musician.
Bentall says, in some ways, ranching is just like starting a band: it requires a great deal of trial and error.
"When we were starting in music, it was similar to ranching. You just started and you made your mistakes and hopefully tried to learn from them, usually repeating them once or twice before they sunk in," Bentall laughs, later recalling being chased around a tree after getting too close to a mother cow protecting her calves as such an incident.
Despite the run-ins with angry animals, Bentall says he thoroughly enjoys being around the livestock and the energy of new life as new additions to the herds come along. The experiences, however varied, have sparked inspiration for his songs in many ways, particularly when he remembers those who came before him and what they endured just to get by.
"I look at how hard people worked back then, and for very little glory," he notes. "These guys, they just came and hopefully could build a cabin before winter started, and could trap and could actually clear land with very few tools and implements just to eek out a living. It's pretty moving and inspirational. We have it pretty easy in many ways."
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