In 1989, Barney Bentall & The Legendary Hearts won the Juno Award for Most Promising Group of the Year.
More than 20 years may have passed since the group’s acclaimed debut album, but Bentall is still delivering on that promise. And local fans can hear for themselves when Bentall appears Saturday night at the Civic Centre in the fourth event on the North Island Concert Society’s 2011-12 season schedule.
Bentall, who will be accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Eric Reid for Saturday’s intimate show, is best known for his decade-plus-long run of hitmaking with the Legendary Hearts. But he has not gone silent in the ensuing years.
He has recorded two solo CDs, 2007’s Gift Horse and 2008’s Inside Passage, and helped form the Grand Cariboo Opry, which brings together some of Canada’s most notable roots and country musicians for touring shows of music, storytelling and humour. Members of the Legendary Hearts, who regrouped to tour in 2008, often take part.
Concert-goers can probably expect a mix of material, ranging from Bentall’s best-known Legendary Hearts hits — all five of the group’s albums reached gold or platinum status — to the more introspective and evocative roots/Canadiana of his recent solo work.
Bentall’s songwriting is infused with a catchy pop sensibility, whether on ballads like A Man Is or Dream of a Day from Gift Horse or the Legendary Hearts rockers Something to Live For and Do Ya.
Reid, who has previously appeared at the Civic Centre as a member of Tiller’s Folly, will provide a more-than-capable support for Bentall’s guitar and harmonica work.
Saturday’s show continues one of the North Island Concert Society’s most diverse seasons. After opening in November with an appearance by multiple Juno-winning balladeer David Francey, NICS presented Afro-Cuban star Adonis Puentes and the gospel trio The Sojourners. The season will wrap up next month with a visit from the contemporary string trio Infinitus.
Tickets for Saturday’s show are $25 and are available in Port Hardy at The Hobby Nook, Cafe Guido and Port Hardy Museum; in Port McNeill at The Flower Shoppe; and in Port Alice by calling Gail Neely at 250-284-3927. Tickets may also be purchased at the door, depending on availability.