No wonder North Vancouver songwriter Dustin Bentall continues to wear his smoke ’n’ whisky voice on his songs on Six Shooter, his second album, which was released this month. With 18,000 hectares of wildfire closing in on his family’s ranch in interior B.C., there’s plenty of smoke in his life. And the man’s favourite drink is whisky and Coke — not surprising considering the son of Barney Bentall picked Del, son of Billy Cowsill, as bassist for the Dustin Bentall Outfit. The elder Cowsill worshipped everything Beatles, and as Scotch whisky and Coke was a Fab Four fave, perhaps this trait was passed down to the Outfit via legends and genes.
In a band rounded out by former Outlaw Social guitarist Adam Dobres and veteran drummer Pat Stewart, legends, genes and experience add up to a strong followup to 2006’s Streets With No Lights. The band’s second album highlights a diverse sound with a showcase of styles, themes, risks and tempos. “A big difference in approach was having the experience of recording an album,” Bentall says. “When I recorded Streets, I had never recorded my voice before and I had barely any stage experience either. I think that is part of the beauty in the outcome of Streets because the songs are so natural. However, writing with recording techniques in mind was a whole new idea and one I had fun with.”
Bentall’s dad had a string of Canadian hits in the ’80s with The Legendary Hearts and continues to craft and perform compelling songs; Cowsill’s dad had worldwide hits in the ’60s with The Cowsills and worked with many legendary producers and songwriters while becoming one himself with bands like The Blue Shadows and The Co-Dependents. No wonder the two compare famous dad stories. “Yep, we sure do,” says Bentall. “How could we not? We seldom run across people who can relate to ourselves in that regard. It’s a real nice fit with Del. It’s more the way we approach the music scene and business. We have a leg up — there is so much that we have learned over the years, especially our childhood, through osmosis. We were looking through old pictures of Del’s the other day and there were some from his fifth birthday party. And there’s Colin James and some other cats hanging out.” After being formally introduced by Dustin’s producer, Johnny Ellis, the pair started working together in November 2007.
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