Barney Bentall

THE DRIFTER & THE PREACHER

After a half decade layoff from recording on his own, Barney Bentall returns with his finest, his most powerful, and most incisive album to date, The Drifter & The Preacher on True North Records.

A rugged, fiercely ambitious work, The Drifter & The Preacher combines an intensely personal artistry with a broader vision of a public figure coming to terms with his ordered life as a musician, as a songwriter, as a husband, as a father, and as a son while turning in his most urgent, and forceful performance in memory.

The album was recorded and mixed in Vancouver by John Raham at Afterlife Studios, excepting “Moon At The Door,” recorded and mixed by Sheldon Zaharko at Monarch Studios.

While his catalog overflows with stellar music, this masterful, expertly crafted album is in the vein of the best recordings of Blue Rodeo, Jackson Browne, John Prine, Ian Tyson, Ron Hynes, and Tom Cochrane, and may prove to be a truly defining moment in Barney’s musical legacy.

Despite several sabbaticals from the musical wars, Barney remains very much part of the fabric of Canadian music culture.  

As frequent collaborator Jim Cuddy, who guested on “Won’t Change The World,” notes, “Barney had a similar trajectory as a neo-roots troubadour to the one we experienced in Blue Rodeo. He has so successfully transitioned from fronting a rock band to being a true Canadian troubadour in the tradition of Lightfoot, McLauchlan, and Cohen. I have loved his solo records, and they have frequently brought me to tears. He is a very poignant songwriter. His voice has the ring of authenticity, and I am easily swept up in the narrative of his songs. His records are my ‘go to’ ones when I need some familiarity to soothe my worries. Quite a man, quite an artist.”  

A jeans and T-shirt kind of guy, Barney is foremost a journeyman artist who is writing better than he ever has; feeling that he’s still got something that he wants to say, and there might be people out there who want to hear it.

With “In The Morning” — co-written with Cory Tetford — underscored by the poignant line, “There’s the life of the village and the life of the quest,” Barney addresses the nomadic spirit of the troubadour life playing tug-and-pull with home life.

To some extent, Barney acknowledges, he has had few anxieties about controlling his own life. Somehow, he just slipped into it, and it works. “But... I have often wrassled with the tug-and-pull between the nomadic path of the troubadour and the peaceful, predictable life of the village. This life and career sometimes felt like a chaotic circus. You would say to yourself, ‘This is all crazy and I should have done this or I should have done that.’ Thankfully, there seems to come a time in your life when you feel the choices you made in the past have a purpose, and that, by and large, the journey now makes sense. I feel like I am getting closer to that point of peace in my life.” 

For more details visit

The Big Four Roadhouse

July 11: 10 p.m.