Barney Bentall 'The Inside Passage' True North

This Canadian singer/songwriter, formally a member of the band The Legendary Hearts, has carved out a solo career with his roots, full band rock and country. He now owns a horse ranch in the Cariboo and divides his time between running that and continuing his recording career. He is also behind the Grand Cariboo Opry which gathers together a host of fellow musicians to play original and classic country songs. Here the sound is broader to reflect a wide emotional landscape. Sending Out A Message To You is the kind of song about being apart that Springsteen might do. By way of contrast On This Beautiful Night is bolstered by brass, with a soulful twist it talks of travel and of finding people and places. The title track has a feel of a classic Jackson Browne song and is again about of reflection and beauty. Elsewhere fiddle and steel play a prominent place in the production, by John Ellis, as on the uptempo Catch That Train or the tender, self-explanatory I Never Meant To Make You Cry. Papa Henry's Boy is a "Seeger Sessions" style sing along with banjo well to the fore. She Ran Away is a fine stripped back song with guitar and some atmospheric dobro and a stand-out here for that reason, and reminds of some classic John Hiatt. This is the sort of album that, with exposure, could easily find favour with a European audience.