Barney Bentall 'Flesh & Bone' - True North

The Canadian artist again show himself a fine storyteller with songs like The Ballad of Johnny Hooke. Bentall and band are joined by several guests including fellow artist fiddler Kendal Carson. The sound is full and Bentall's production gives room to the songs to explore a range of interesting arrangements. From the celtic mood of Johnny Hooke to Annabel's more reflective piano centred ballad through the banjo infused direction of High Up On The Mountain. Bentall is well able to use his voice to set the tone for these songs. Many of which allude to old-time or other musical territories but he never lets the music loses sight of his overall sound.

The tale of Four Went To War is again another picture in words that expresses comradeship and the joy of survival with a strong sing along chorus of a tale of Canadian Civil War participants. Say Goodbye To Albert Comfort is a slow ballad of facing up to fate. By way of contrast On Fine Day rocks with another big chorus and it's sense of getting there - a tribute to longevity of relationships. A theme also picked up for Long Lovely Love Affair which closes the album.

Barney Bentall and his band make music that has a wide-ranging appeal that would doubtless find a bigger audience outside of Canada and given the quality of every aspect of this and previous albums deserves to be. But things don't always happen the way they should so his mix of the personal and the pictorial that moves from the pensive to some more heartland rock workouts will find its audience if the effort is made to listen to the songs of this talented rancher and songwriter. We are all made of flesh and bone and can relate to the reasons that these songs exist.