By Jenny Grant
CALGARY – Once again, Dustin Bentall masters the art of keeping things simple. His two new songs, “Not Been Sleeping” and “High in the Satellite” will make up nearly half of his new EP, set to release on Feb. 22. “They’re very unique from one another, but there is a thread there…all the songs on the EP have a common thread, but they really didn’t have a home on a full album,” Bentall explains.
Bentall’s work is about careful craftsmanship and curated decision making, evidenced not only in his songwriting, but also in his other full-time venture – Dust Leather. “I’ve opened up a new shop in Toronto and it’s been full on. I’ve been making shoes one at a time, and it’s been rewarding and fun.” Fun fact: John Prine sports one of Bentall’s custom guitar straps on his beloved Martin guitar.
The first song released from the upcoming EP is “Not Been Sleeping” and was recorded during a difficult time for Bentall. His grandfather had just passed away. He had been touring extensively and finished the song just days before the passing of his good friend, Jay Smith.
“Subconsciously, a lot of things crept into that song,” he admits. “It’s about re-evaluating…also about how you need to help yourself and others.” The song is powerful in its slow melodic repetition, with lyrics that don’t pepper the issue of simply not being ok. The gentle questioning, emphasized by the layering of Kendel Carson’s hypnotic harmony, adds optimism and hope to the song. The result is relatable and profound at the same time.
“High in the Satellite” takes on a lighter, almost hypnotic vibe reminiscent of classic cosmic ballads like “Across the Universe.” Bentall gives credit to engineer Colin Stewart for the unique sound on the track. “He added in that psychedelic element and brought it all together.” Here, Bentall’s trademark sound departs into both the unexpected and the familiar, with distortion and Carson’s fiddle mixed in respectively. It’s trippy and fun, but hauntingly melodic.
Bentall’s time on the road has also made Calgary a preferred destination. “Calgary’s always been the best to me. I’ll be playing with a different band – Albertan musicians. I’ll start the show solo, with some new songs and different takes on a few and then bring the band in to do the second set.”
Dustin Bentall plays the Ironwood Stage & Grill on Feb. 23.Dustin Bentall, Ironwood Stage & Grill